ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202303.0412.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Environmental Science Keywords: asari clams; upwelling of hypoxic water masses; mass mortality; hydrogen sulfide; chain of biological die-off
Online: 23 March 2023 (09:49:49 CET)
To investigate the mass mortality of asari clams triggered by upwelling-driven hypoxia, we conducted biological and oceanographic observations of the Rokujo tidal flat in Mikawa Bay, central Japan. In addition, a simple laboratory experiment was conducted using sediments on a tidal flat containing macrobenthos to examine the possibility of hydrogen sulfide formation in tidal flats. The results of field observations showed that the number and biomass of asari clams decreased from September to October in the tidal flat when hypoxia was intermittent. In particular, hypoxia persisted for approximately one week from September 21, which was associated with the calm weather and stagnation of tidal currents owing to the neap tide. The hydrogen sulfide concentration in the water directly above the sediment exceeded 30 mg L-1 after 3 days of incubation. Our results suggest that the mass mortality of asari clams may be caused by the high concentration of hydrogen sulfide produced by sulfate reduction, which is attributed to the chain of biological die-off caused by the upwelling of hypoxic water mass accompanied by meteorological events, and calm conditions such as the neap tide period.