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Studies on New Zealand Bivalve Larvae, with Observations on the Adults, and on the Hydrology of Bay of Islands and Wellington Harbour

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posted on 2021-11-08, 07:51 authored by Booth, John Duncan

1) Observations made on some hydrological parameters at Bay of Islands and Wellington Harbour during 1970-71 are presented and discussed. The parameters include water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen content and turbidity. The water current system in Bay of Islands is also discussed and a proposed pattern presented. The hydrology of Bay of Islands and Wellington Harbour are compared. Bay of Islands is topographically lees isolated from oceanic influence than Wellington Harbour, and there is a more marked change from estuarine to oceanic hydrological conditions within the bay. Monthly mean surface seawater tempe ratures at Bay of Islands exceed those of Wellington Harbour by about 4 degrees C. Water temperature stratification is more marked in Bay of Islands than Wellington Harbour, suggesting less efficient water mixing. Salinities are lower in Wellington harbour (normally about 33.5 - 34.5 parts per thousand) than the main basin of Bay of Islands (normally about 3S.5. parts per thousand). Turbidities in estuarine areas of Bay of Islands are similar to those for most of Wellington Harbour ( 3 - 6 metres Secchi Disc visibility values), but are much Less in outer basin areas (Secchi Disc visibility values may exceed 15 metres). Dissolved oxygen content is high in both harbours, frequently exceeding 100 per cent saturation in surface water. The results suggest that although both harbours are hydrologically quite homogeneous, Wellington Harbour is more efficiently mixed than Bay of Islands. (2) Benthic and shore collections of marine bivalve molluscs were made in Bay of Islands, and benthic collections were made in Wellington Harbour, during 1970-72. The species occurring are recorded and discussed, and the distribution of some common species in Wellington Harbour is related to sediment types. A list of bivalve molluscs collected in Bay of Islands is presented, and additional species to previous Wellington Harbour species lists are recorded. Invertebrate marine communities described for New Zealand are discussed, and the bivalve fauna of both harbours is visually compared to these communities. The observations at fifty four anchor dredge benthic stations in Wellington Harbour are then treated statistically, and compared to the visual assessments. It appears that the great variability in Wellington Harbour sediments makes identity of classical communities in the harbour almost impossible. However, station groups (groups of stations with similar bivalve species present) are evident, and their distribution in Wellington Harbour correlate closely to sediment type distribution. Lists of the most abundant bivalve species occurring in both harbours, deduced from all the observations presented in this study, are given. (3) Observations were made on the occurrence of common late stage bivalve larvae in the plankton at Bay of Islands and Wellington Harbour during 1979 - 71. Three stations in Bay of Islands and four stations in Wellington Harbour were sampled approximately monthly. The bivalve larvae in shorter series of plankton samples from Raumati Beach, Dargaville Beach, Mahurangi, Ohiwa Harbour, Raglan Harbour and Kaipara Harbour during 1971 - 72 were also analysed. Twenty-nine species of bivalve larvae from these plankton samples are described. Twenty-three species of late stage bivalve larvae are provisionally identified, the identifications being based on the larval hinge structure, the distribution and abundance of the larvae in relation to adult stocks, and in some cases by correlation with the adult gonad or condition index cycle. The broad seasonal pattern of occurrence of twenty five species of late stage bivalve larvae in the plankton at Bay of Islands, Wellington Harbour and Raumati Beach is presented. (4) Ecological studies made on bivalve larvae at Bay of Islands and Wellington Harbour during 1970 - 71, are presented and compared to other published studies from overseas. Included are observations on the vertical meso-distribution of bivalve larvae over tidal cycles in estuarine and non-estuarine localities of l2m to l5m depth, the daytime vertical meso-distribution of bivalve larvae in non-estuarine water 20m- 30m in depth, the effect of light on the vertical meso-distribution of bivalve larvae in water 15m- 30min depth, and the horizontal mega-distribution of bivalve larvae in Wellington Harbour and Bay of Islands. The observations suggest that in estuarine areas, the effect of alternating tides on the vertical distribution of bivalve larvae far outweighs the effects of any other factors. During the flood tide, bivalve larvae rise from the bottom into the water column and are carried up the estuary by the tide. During the ebb tide the larvae settle and remain on the bottom. In non-estuarine areas, no such vertical migration was observed. Gravity, light and water currents, in particular, affect the vertical distribution of bivalve larvae in these areas. The horizontal mega-distribution of bivalve larvae within Wellington Harbour is fairly uniform. In Bay of Islands, bivalve larvae occur in greatest densities near the shores, while much of the central basin is almost devoid of larvae. This distribution is due to the proximity of the adult stocks to the regions of most larvae, and to the prevailing water current pattern within the bay.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Doctor of Philosophy

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Biological Sciences


Pike, R B; Salmon, J T