A Box Model for Ecosystem-Level Management of Mussel Culture Carrying Capacity in a Coastal Bay

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Ecosystems (2009)


The carrying capacity of shellfish aquaculture is determined by the interaction of cultured species with the ecosystem, particularly food availability to suspension feeders. A multiple box dynamic ecosystem model was constructed to examine the carrying capacity for mussel (Mytilus edulis) aquaculture in Tracadie Bay, Prince of Edward Island, Canada. Criteria for carrying capacity were based on chlorophyll concentration. The model was run in two different years (1998 and 1999) in which time series for three points inside the bay and a point outside the bay were available. This data set allows spatial validation of the ecosystem model and assessment of its sensitivity to changes in boundary conditions. The model validation process indicated that the differential equations and parameters used in the simulation provided robust prediction of the ecological dynamics within the bay. Results verified that mussel biomass exerts top-down control of phytoplankton populations.