As part of our free plant scallop monitoring, I went diving in Flanders Bay, the westernmost of the Peconic Estuary system, to do quadrat counts and collect scallops for gonad index analysis - we can use this to see if and when the scallops have spawned. The counts revealed ~2 scallops per square meter - much lower than the original planting densities, but still fairly decent numbers considering the un-ideal bottom. That said, I saw a northern puffer (YAY!) in my first quadrat. This is exciting because their numbers have been severely reduced in recent years. However, puffers are potential scallop predators, so I don't know how excited I should be. However, they may also inhibit mud crab predation on scallops. Either way, it was exciting. I saw sea nettles, tons of comb jellies (ctenophores), that puffer, tons of silversides, blackfish and cunners, whelks, mud crabs, and of course scallops - oh and some red beard sponges. It was actually a pretty decent dive. Take a look at the pictures.
My new land-to-sea connection
1 day ago