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Behavioural effects of hypersaline exposure on the lobster Homarus gammarus (L) and the crab Cancer pagurus (L)

Smyth, Katie; Mazik, Krysia; Elliott, Michael


Katie Smyth

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Professor Mike Elliott
Emeritus Professor of Estuarine and Coastal Sciences/ Research Professor, Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Studies


There is scarce existing information in the literature regarding the responses of any marine species, especially commercially valuable decapod crustaceans, to hypersalinity. Hypersaline discharges due to solute mining and desalination are increasing in temperate areas, hence the behavioural responses of the edible brown crab, Cancer pagurus, and the European lobster, Homarus gammarus, were studied in relation to a marine discharge of highly saline brine using a series of preference tests. Both species had a significant behavioural response to highly saline brine, being able to detect and avoid areas of hypersalinity once their particular threshold salinity was reached (salinity 50 for C. pagurus and salinity 45 for H. gammarus). The presence of shelters had no effect on this response and both species avoided hypersaline areas, even when shelters were provided there. If the salinity of commercial effluent into the marine environment exceeds the behavioural thresholds found here, it is likely that adults of these species will relocate to areas of more favourable salinity. In management terms it is advisable to ensure that any hypersaline discharges are limited to the lowest tolerance of all the economically valuable species in the area to avoid loss of revenue in fishery areas.


Smyth, K., Mazik, K., & Elliott, M. (2014). Behavioural effects of hypersaline exposure on the lobster Homarus gammarus (L) and the crab Cancer pagurus (L). Journal of experimental marine biology and ecology, 457, 208-214.

Acceptance Date Apr 17, 2014
Online Publication Date May 10, 2014
Publication Date 2014-08
Deposit Date May 19, 2015
Publicly Available Date May 19, 2015
Journal Journal of experimental marine biology and ecology
Print ISSN 0022-0981
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 457
Pages 208-214
Keywords Hypersalinity; Brine; Behaviour; Avoidance; Choice; Shelter
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Additional Information Author's accepted manuscript of article published in: Journal of experimental marine biology and ecology, 2014, v.457.


2014 Smyth et al JEMBE 457 208-214 behav Hgam Cpag hypersalinity.pdf (1.2 Mb)

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