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Muscling in on mussels: new insights into bivalve behaviour using vertebrate remote-sensing technology

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RESEARCH ARTICLE Rory Wilson Æ Penpag Reuter Æ Martin Wahl Muscling in on mussels: new insights into bivalve behaviour using vertebrate remote-sensing technology Received: 24 June 2004 / Accepted: 30 March 2005 / Published online: 18 June 2005 � Springer-Verlag 2005 Introduction The difficulty of studying marine endotherms has stim- ulated researchers wishing to quantify behaviour at sea to develop animal-attached remote-sensing technology that automatically records activity at all times, even when the study animal is far from land and deep underwater (see e.g. Naito 2004). Superficially, it would appear that such technology is unnecessary for more accessible animals, such as intertidal invertebrates, be- cause they can generally be observed directly, either in the laboratory or in situ. However, problems of obser- vation in imperfect conditions, observer bias, fatigue or simple inability to resolve behavioural events are little discussed even though they may profoundly affect the quality and interpretation of results. In this note, we demonstrate how technology using the Hall effect, originally developed for studies on marine endotherms, may be used to elucidate and to quantify the behaviour of bivalves both in the labora- tory and in the wild. To our knowledge, two other re- search groups have presented a remote-sensing approach to bivalves (Redpath and Davenport 1988; DeZwart et al. 1995), one of which, at least, has been used to examine the reaction of shellfish to toxins (Curtis et al. 2000), although the technology and sensors are quite different to ours. We believe that adoption of this gen- eral approach can enhance our understanding of the marine invertebrates enormously. Materials and methods We used a Hall sensor and magnet system, originally proposed by Wilson et al. (2002), to study the feeding behaviour in penguins, but also used in later modifica- tions of the same approach to study limb movement (Wilson and Liebsch 2003), respiration (Wilson et al. 2003) defecat

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