Devon Witczak

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Spring 2015


The Bay Scallop (Argopectan irradians) is an important commercial species with a key ecological role in Sarasota Bay (Arnold et al., 2005). As filter feeders, bay scallops help keep the bay clean as well as serve as indicators of the Bay’s overall health. They’re also a popular seafood, but commercial and recreational harvests of bay scallops have been halted since their decline starting in the 1950’s (Stephenson, Parker and Geiger, 2013). Restoration efforts are underway by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, and Sarasota County government. To support the restoration of this species, further understanding of the variables that may be harmful to the recovery of this species is needed. One concern for this species is whether reduced pH levels may have a negative effect on juvenile bay scallops. A controlled laboratory experiment was established to address specifically the impacts of low pH on scallop survivorship. The scallops were separated into a control group and an experimental group. The control group had “ambient” water flowing in with a pH of about 8.1, and the control group had “acidic” water flowing in with a pH of about 7.6. The experiment lasted twelve weeks. Growth was low for both groups, suggesting that the scallops were underfed. However, there was a higher survivorship rate for the juvenile scallops that were kept under control conditions. While the results of this study were not as robust as desired, the findings provided initial support of future hypothesis on the factors influencing the survivorship of juvenile bay scallops under changing environmental conditions.


Department: MES

MPS Track: MCO

Location: Mote Marine Laboratory: Sarasota, FL

For UM Patrons Only