Project Title: 2016 Drivers of Dispersal and Retention in Recently Seeded Sea Scallops
Principle Investigators: Ricky Alexander, Liese Siemann, & Samir Patel
Client: NOAA/NMFS Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program
The encompassing goal of this project is to demonstrate the feasibility of a seeding program to enhance and stabilize scallop recruitment while documenting the factors that affect seed survival. Specifically, research will focus on scallop dispersal and survival in offshore populations with an emphasis on the factors influencing dispersal in the days immediately following seeding operations. During each research trip, the experiment will compare scallop retention and habitat conditions at three sites, the reseeded harvest site and a nearby seeding site. Seeded scallops will be marked using a new cost effective technique that includes size-class identification and on-bottom monitoring. Sites will be monitored for 5 days with an autonomous underwater vehicle and an imaging trawl. Information gained in this experiment will be invaluable for active management of seeded scallops, providing needed information about scallop retention and habitat selection. Furthermore, the innovative monitoring technique we will be developing will open up new avenues for monitoring dispersal of benthic organisms.