The cardiac responses of the scallop Pecten maximus (L.) to respiratory stress

David Roberts, A.R. Brand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Heart activity of Pecten maximus (L.) has been recorded during various forms of experimentally induced respiratory stress. There was considerable variation in the responses of individual scallops but bradycardia generally occurred in response to all forms of respiratory stress, with the rate of fall in heart rate dependent upon the severity of hypoxia. When oxygen tension declined slowly in a closed respirometer there was regulation of both heart rate and oxygen consumption. The critical tension, Pc, for oxygen consumption lay between 70 and 80 mm Hg, and corresponded with a slight regulatory upswing of the heart rate, whereas the Pc for heart rate was much lower at 20–30 mm Hg. Sudden transfer to deoxygenated water for 3 h resulted in very rapid bradycardia and there was a rapid recovery and initial overshoot of the normal rate on return to well-oxygenated sea water. Aerial exposure for 3 h produced more gradual bradycardia followed by gradual recovery on return to sea water. The results of this work are compared in some detail with previous work on other species of bivalve from different geographical areas and habitats, and the mechanisms controlling cardiac and respiratory regulation are discussed. It is concluded that there are few clear-cut general differences between littoral and sublittoral species in their behavioural and physiological adaptations to hypoxia; the main distinguishing feature of littoral-adapted species is their ability to control air-gaping. Changes in heart activity generally indicate variations in metabolic rate, the speed at which the metabolic rate may be altered reflecting the degree of adaptation to the littoral environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-43
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1973


Dive into the research topics of 'The cardiac responses of the scallop Pecten maximus (L.) to respiratory stress'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this