Table of Contents
International Scholarly Research Notices
Volume 2014, Article ID 326832, 8 pages
Research Article

Covariations between Shell-Growth Parameters and the Control of the Ranges of Variation of Functionally Relevant Shell-Shape Parameters in Bivalves: A Theoretical Approach

1Société d’Histoire Naturelle du Creusot, 12 rue des Pyrénées, 71200 Le Creusot, France
2Biogéosciences, Université de Bourgogne, 21000 Dijon, France

Received 25 April 2014; Revised 22 September 2014; Accepted 23 September 2014; Published 18 November 2014

Academic Editor: Julian Blasco

Copyright © 2014 Jean Béguinot. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Major traits of shell shape in bivalves may alternatively be described in terms of (i) functionally relevant parameters, assumed to play a significant role in the adaptation of bivalves molluscs to their environments (such as the shell-outline elongation , ventral convexity , and dissymmetry ), or (ii) growth-based parameters, directly controlled by the animal. Due to the geometrical linkage between functionally-relevant and growth-based parameters, adaptive constraints that may either widen or narrow the respective ranges of variations of the functional parameters lead to the onset of specific covariations (either positive or negative) between the growth-based parameters. This has practical interest since adaptive constraints are often difficult to identify directly, while they can be conveniently inferred indirectly via the easily recorded patterns of covariances between growth-based parameters. Hereafter, I provide the theoretical background of this tool, including (1) establishing the geometrical relationships between growth-based and functionally relevant parameters and (2) then specifying the correspondences between the different patterns of adaptive constraints, widening or narrowing the variations of the functional parameters and the corresponding patterns of covariations between the growth-based parameters. Illustrative examples of the practical use of this tool are provided, considering both interspecific and intraspecific variations within marine and fresh-water clams.