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, May 19, 2009

Scallop surveys!

So I went diving on Monday to do some more of the benthic surveys. During the summer, from June through November, we have our spat collectors in the water to track larval settlement. In November and December, we do benthic surveys at our collector sites so we can see if what comes up in the collectors is translating to the bottom. Then, in the spring, we go back to the same sites to determine the over winter mortality. These dives are exciting, because in the last year we are seeing more scallops here than we have seen in previous years, which indicates the restoration effort is probably working. But aside from the scallops, I often see a lot of other cool things. Every dive I observe spider crabs, mud crabs and whelks, those are fairly common. Some commonly seen fish include gobies and cunner. But occasionally I come across cool things, like this fluke, Paralichthys dentatus:

I also saw this skate, which I believe to be a little skate:

And some sort of mud shrimp:

And finally, these two crabs teaming up to try to eat the whelk:

Some sort of comb jelly (in the bottom of the photo)
And, as always, lots of scallops!!!!

No comments: