Mussels were maintained for 4 weeks under different combinations of dissolved oxygen concentration (1.5, 3.0 and 6.0 mg O2 l(-1)) and salinity (15, 20, 25 and 30) in a 3×4 factorial design experiment. Clearance rate (CR), absorption efficiency (AE), respiration rate (RR) and scope for growth (SFG) decreased with decreasing salinity and dissolved oxygen concentration (DO), while excretion rate (ER) increased with decreasing salinity and increasing DO. The O:N ratio was <10 at salinities of 15 and 20, irrespective of DO levels. SFG was negative in most of the treatments, except for those under 6.0 mg O2 l(-1) or at a salinity of 30 when DO was lower. The results may help explain the distribution pattern of Perna viridis in Hong Kong waters and provide guidelines for mussel culture site selection.