From April 23rd through April 28th, 2015, I attended and presented at the 20th International Pectinid Workshop in Galway, Ireland. Scientists from all over the world participated and session topics included ecology and general biology, aquaculture, fisheries, marine protected areas, biotoxins, resource management, and two sessions were dedicated to physiology, biochemistry, and genetics. A special session focused on Pectinids as witnesses of their environment in a changing ocean. This session featured work by French scientists to develop analysis tools which will use the shells of scallops to determine environmental characteristics at the time when the shell is formed. They have yet to determine the method for Placopecten magellanicus, the species found in Maine, but when they do, we hope to send them samples from the Muscle Ridge and Ocean Point closed areas.
Maine was well represented at the conference, with four of us presenting our current research including Skylar Bayer, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Maine School of Marine Sciences, who presented on her dissertation work studying fertilization success in the Atlantic Sea Scallop (Placopecten magellanicus). Trisha Cheney, Resource coordinator for scallops, urchins, groundfish permit bank at Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) presented on state scallop management efforts, and Dr. Carla Guenther, Senior Scientist at Penobscot East Resource Center (PERC) and a member of the Scallop Advisory Council, followed up Trish's presentation by sharing the work that PERC and DMR have done to build trust within the scallop fishing community and to implement the rotational closed area management system currently in place in Zone 2. I provided preliminary results from quantifying the effect of the Muscle Ridge Closed Area on scallop populations.
Dr. Kevin Stokesbury, Dr. Dave Bethoney, and Dr. Susan Inglis from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (You can find info about their work here) and Dr. Dvora Hart who works in the Population Dynamics Branch at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, MA, presented on their work on the federal scallop fishery which ranged from a parasite in scallops that causes the white meat of the adductor to turn gray to larval dispersal.
Conversations with workshop participants have inspired me to consider additional methods for the Collaborative Scallop Project that would improve the power of the study. In the near term, I am hoping to organize a visit to the Northeast Fisheries Science Center to learn their shell aging and growth rate methods so we can apply it to the shells we've collected over the past two years.