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A population of Cerastoderma glaucum Poiret 1789 was studied in the Polish coastal zone (up to 3 Nautical miles) of the Baltic Sea within the Puck Bay and part of the Gulf of Gdańsk. The frequency (F) in the sheltered coastal zone of bays was high (65%), whereas at the exposed open coast of the Middle Pomerania it was lower (43%). Also, abundance in the Puck Bay and the Gulf of Gdańsk was over 3-fold higher than in the coastal zone of the Middle Pomerania. By means of classic statistical methods (essential tests) we proved the significance of differences between mean abundance at west and east transects in estuaries and between open coast and estuaries. The multi-variate regression and classification trees (MR&CT) indicated that biomass and abundance of C. glaucum in the Baltic Sea were affected by the kind of bottom, whereas depth and distance to the bank influenced cockles' abundance and biomass in bays. The population's structure in the Puck Bay and the Gulf of Gdańsk was determined mainly by the depth. In the Wieprza River estuary only specimens from age group 1+ were found. On all the other studied profiles cockles lived up to 3 or 4 years and the dominant group was 2+. The highest mean width of shell was in the Słupia River estuary, and in the bays shell width increased from west to east. In comparison to the other bivalves inhabiting the discussed area, C. glaucum does not play an important role as food source for fish and other consumers but may serve as an indicator of environmental conditions.
Key words: Cerastoderma glaucum, abundace, biomass, eutrophication, Baltic Sea