A.J.S. Hawkins*, P.L. Pascoe, H. Parry, M. Brinsley, K.D. Black, C. McGonigle, H. Moore, C.R. Newell, N. OBoyle, T. O'Carroll, B. OLoan, M. Service, A.C. Smaal, X.L. Zhang, M.Y. Zhu

*Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth PL1 3DH, Devon, United Kingdom
Email: ajsh@pml.ac.uk
Previous shellfish models have in general been calibrated for one location, unable to simulate growth across habitats that contrast in seston abundance and type as may include turbid, eutrophic and oligotrophic waters. Here, we present ShellSIM (http://www.shellsim.com), a computer-based generic shellfish growth model which, validated at single sites in 14 commonly-cultured shellfish species, simulates growth effectively using single parameter sets for mussels Mytilus edulis and oysters Crassostrea gigas cultured across 9 contrasting locations (Table 1).

Options within the user interface enable ready assessment of the relative values of chlorophyll a (CHL, l-1), total particulate organic matter (POM; mg l-1) and total particulate organic carbon (POC; mg l-1) as co-descriptors of the food available at separate locations. Using CHL as the sole proxy for available organics, growth could not be simulated accurately in M. edulis and C. gigas across all locations. Instead, more than 74% of the variance in observed growth was predicted across all locations upon inclusion of dynamic relations accounting for ingestion and absorption of both chlorophyll-rich and all remaining organic matter such as may include bacteria, protozoans, colloids and/or detritus. Simulations of growth were therefore improved by accounting for temporal and spatial changes in seston composition. In the absence of data for POC, such resolution is enabled within ShellSIM by relations predicting the energy available within non-chlorophyll organics from data for CHL and POM alone.
Associated outputs simulate real-time adjustments in clearance rate, oxygen uptake, ammonium loss, faecal loss and population dynamics, ready for integrated modeling of the feedbacks, both positive and negative, affecting production carrying capacity and/or how suspension-feeding shellfish influence ecosystem properties and processes. To help facilitate such integrated modeling, ShellSIM is coded in C#, thus easily linked with other models using the Microsoft.NET framework.

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