Drivers of Dispersal and Retention in Recently Seeded Sea Scallops

A bushel of sea scallops prior to tagging

A bushel of sea scallops prior to tagging

Project Title: Drivers of Dispersal and Retention in Recently Seeded Sea Scallops

Year: 2016

Principle Investigators: Shea Miller & Liese Siemann

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.