Mussels as a model system for integrative ecomechanics

Ann Rev Mar Sci. 2015;7:443-69. doi: 10.1146/annurev-marine-010213-135049. Epub 2014 Aug 25.


Mussels form dense aggregations that dominate temperate rocky shores, and they are key aquaculture species worldwide. Coastal environments are dynamic across a broad range of spatial and temporal scales, and their changing abiotic conditions affect mussel populations in a variety of ways, including altering their investments in structures, physiological processes, growth, and reproduction. Here, we describe four categories of ecomechanical models (biochemical, mechanical, energetic, and population) that we have developed to describe specific aspects of mussel biology, ranging from byssal attachment to energetics, population growth, and fitness. This review highlights how recent advances in these mechanistic models now allow us to link them together across molecular, material, organismal, and population scales of organization. This integrated ecomechanical approach provides explicit and sometimes novel predictions about how natural and farmed mussel populations will fare in changing climatic conditions.

Keywords: byssus; dislodgment; dynamic energy budget; fitness; mussel foot proteins; tenacity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquaculture
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bivalvia* / anatomy & histology
  • Bivalvia* / growth & development
  • Bivalvia* / metabolism
  • Body Size
  • Climate Change
  • Ecosystem*
  • Marine Biology / methods*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Population Density
  • Reproduction