Home > Explore Data & Reports > Habitat Affects Survival of Translocated Bay Scallops, Argopecten irradians concentricus (Say 1822), in Lower Chesapeake Bay


Hernández Cordero, A.L., R.D. Seitz, R.N. Lipcius, C.M. Bovery, and D.M. Schulte. 2012. Habitat Affects Survival of Translocated Bay Scallops, Argopecten irradians concentricus (Say 1822), in Lower Chesapeake Bay. Estuaries and Coasts, 35:1340-1345. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-012-9510-2

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Bay scallop (Argopecten irradians) populations existed in Chesapeake Bay until 1933, when they declined dramatically due to a loss of seagrass habitat. Since then, there have been no documented populations within the Bay. However, some anecdotal observations of live bay scallops within the lower Bay suggest that restoration of the bay scallop is feasible. We therefore tested whether translocated adults of the southern bay scallop, Argopecten irradians concentricus, could survive during the reproductive season in vegetated and unvegetated habitats of the Lynnhaven River sub-estuary of lower Chesapeake Bay in the absence of predation. Manipulative field experiments evaluated survival of translocated, caged adult scallops in eelgrass Zostera marina, macroalgae Gracilaria spp., oyster shell, and rubble plots at three locations. After a 3-week experimental period, scallop survival was high in vegetated habitats, ranging from 98% in their preferred habitat, Z. marina, to 90% in Gracilaria spp. Survival in Z. marina was significantly higher than that in rubble (76%) and oyster shell (78%). These findings indicate that reproductive individuals can survive in vegetated habitats of lower Chesapeake Bay when protected from predators and that establishment of bay scallop populations within Chesapeake Bay may be viable.

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