Validation of the flow-through chamber (FTC) and steady-state (SS) methods for clearance rate measurements in bivalves

Poul Scheel Larsen, Hans Ulrik Riisgård

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To obtain precise and reliable laboratory clearance rate (filtration rate) measurements with the ‘flow-through chamber method’ (FTC) the design must ensure that only inflow water reaches the bivalve’s inhalant aperture and that exit flow is fully mixed. As earlier recommended these prerequisites can be checked by a plot of clearance rate (CR) versus increasing through-flow (Fl) to reach a plateau, which is the true CR, but we also recommend to plot percent particles cleared versus reciprocal through-flow where the plateau becomes the straight line CR/Fl, and we emphasize that the percent of particles cleared is in itself neither a criterion for valid CR measurement, nor an indicator of appropriate ‘chamber geometry’ as hitherto adapted in many studies. For the ‘steady-state method’ (SS), the design must ensure that inflow water becomes fully mixed with the bivalve’s excurrent flow to establish a uniform chamber concentration prevailing at its incurrent flow and at the chamber outlet. These prerequisites can be checked by a plot of CR versus increasing Fl, which should give the true CR at all through-flows. Theoretically, the experimental uncertainty of CR for a given accuracy of concentration measurements depends on the percent reduction in particle concentration (1006P) from inlet to outlet of the ideal ‘chamber geomety’. For FTC, it decreases with increasing values of P while for SS it first decreases but then increases again, suggesting the use of an intermediate value of P. In practice, the optimal value of P may depend on the given ‘chamber geometry’. The fundamental differences between the FTC and the SS methods and practical guidelines for their use are pointed out, and new data on CR for the blue mussel, Mytilus edulis, illustrate a design and use of the SS method which may be employed in e.g. long-term growth experiments at constant algal concentrations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiology Open
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)6-11
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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