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...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Spring Surveys

We are just about done with our spring benthic surveys in the Peconic Estuary. On Wednesday we surveyed a couple of sites around Orient Harbor, the location of the large suspended spawner sanctuary.

At 2 of the sites we surveys we found scallops at higher densities than anticipated based on the fall survey results, suggesting higher overwinter survival (which can be a problem - Tettelbach et al 1990), and higher densities overall. These are very good signs, indicating that the restoration effort is likely working (and here, last years harvest is also a good indication, but see Tettelbach and Smith 2009)! Below are some photos from the dives....

Eelgrass, Zostera marina, often considered the primary bay scallop habitat, although some of our new research indicates that other species might also facilitate scallop survival - Carroll et al 2010

Some sort of tube worm, unsure what species...

The northern pipefish - pretty cryptic, huh?

A channeled whelk, or as the local baymen call them, "conch," now a top fished species in the Peconic Estuary

A sand collar, an egg casing laid by moonsnails.

Carroll, J., Peterson, B., Bonal, D., Weinstock, A., Smith, C., & Tettelbach, S. (2009). Comparative survival of bay scallops in eelgrass and the introduced alga, Codium fragile, in a New York estuary Marine Biology, 157 (2), 249-259 DOI: 10.1007/s00227-009-1312-0

Tettelbach, S.T., C.F. Smith, J.E. Kalady, T.W. Arroll and M.R. Denson. (1990). Burial of
transplanted bay scallops Argopecten irradians irradians (Lamarck, 1819) in winter. Journal of Shellfish Research, 9, 127-134

Tettelbach, S., & Smith, C. (2009). Bay Scallop Restoration in New York Ecological Restoration, 27 (1), 20-22 DOI: 10.3368/er.27.1.20

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