The individual age of a bivalve molluscs can be inferred from the age rings laid down every year in the shell in species inhabiting areas of seasonsal environmental variation (e.g. food supply, temperature). Thus the ageing process shaped by different environmental settings can be investigated in this animal class. Some bivalves have extraordinary long life-spans. Species like the Ocean Quahog Arctica islandica and the freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera live over hundreds of years. Few studies have so far attempted to study the process of ageing in long lived bivalves, or generally in long lived species. This review summarizes current knowledge of cellular ageing in bivalves, with a focus on the antioxidant system as well as tissue repair and metabolic capacities of extremely long lived species. We discuss the applicability of these species as models for different ageing theories. Future research needs to focus on the molecular mechanisms of longevity in these long lived species, especially the investigation of evolutionary old mechanisms like autophagy and apoptosis and DNA repair mechanisms seems promising future directions.
Helmholtz Research Programs > PACES I (2009-2013) > TOPIC 2: Coastal Change > WP 2.2: Integrating evolutionary Ecology into Coastal and Shelf Processes