Zostera marina is a seagrass species, commonly known as eelgrass, that is found on both coasts of the United States, as well as in Europe. Unfortunately, Zostera is disappearing all over the place, including right here in New York. This could have devastating impacts on animals that rely on eelgrass as foraging grounds, or, as is the case with scallops, use it as a refuge from predation. This is its story, as seen through the eyes of an aspiring graduate student...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

One million strong and growing?

Well, I can't be very sure about that. However, there was a time when Great Souht Bay, a south shore estuary on New York's Long Island, when there were so many hard clams that people could "walk across the bay on the boats of clammers." Well, the times they are (read have been) a changin'. One of the projects my lab has been involved in was a shallow water hard clam survey in GSB. I was able to go out and help with that survey last week, and I can say the results, at least for my day out on the water, the results were less than ideal. Times were, there were upwards of 30-40 hard clams per square meter at certain locations within GSB. I'd say we were lucky to find ~ 1 per square meter. That is devastating. Certainly overfishing helped contribute to this collapse, but additional insults such as harmful algal blooms and habitat alteration has certainly helped lead to this sad clam state. There is hope, though. The Nature Conservancy has a large area of bottom land in GSB and has been free planting adult clams in spawner sanctuaries for many years. Hopefully, things will start to get better.

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