Morphological diversity of microstructures occurring in selected recent bivalve shells and their ecological implications

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Environmental adaptation of molluscs during evolution has led to form biomineral exoskeleton – shell. The main compound of their shells is calcium carbonate, which is represented by calcite and/or aragonite. The mineral part, together with the biopolymer matrix, forms many types of microstructures, which are differ in texture. Different types of internal shell microstructures are characteristic for some bivalve groups. Studied bivalve species (freshwater species – duck mussel (Anodonta anatina Linnaeus, 1758) and marine species – common cockle (Cerastoderma edule Linnaeus, 1758), lyrate Asiatic hard clam (Meretrix lyrata Sowerby II, 1851) and blue mussel (Mytilus edulis Linnaeus, 1758)) from different locations and environmental conditions, show that the internal shell microstructure with the shell morphology and thickness have critical impact to the ability to survive in changing environment and also to the probability of surviving predator attack. Moreover, more detailed studies on molluscan structures might be responsible for create mechanically resistant nanomaterials.

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