Phoebe Jekielek, HICSL’s Outreach & Marketing Coordinator (and occasional fieldwork support!) and I wrapped up the 2015 Muscle Ridge field season with our last set of dive surveys off of Jim Wotton’s lobster boat, F/V Overkill. It was an absolutely beautiful day in early October – almost two months sooner than when we finished the 2014 field season (I have to admit that I was grateful that I was not diving in my 7 mm semi-dry wetsuit on November 29th with snow on the ground and a brisk, chilly breeze like last year!). In the Sprucehead Coop harbor, the sea state resembled an August morning – completely glassy with little to no wave action; however the air temperature reminded us that fall had arrived. Mauricio Handler, an underwater videographer from AQUATERRA Films and Darryl Czuchra, joined us for the day and were tasked with documenting the work that we do to make the collaborative scallop project happen!
Overall, it was another great season that could not have been accomplished without the help of a number of people, including, Tad Miller, Jim Wotton, Erik Waterman, Dan Miller, Jamie Kaizer, Skip Connell and Kristofer Koerber for their on-the-water expertise and assistance with dive and drop camera surveys and spat bag recovery and deployment. Dr. Kevin Stokesbury’s lab at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth organized another awesome three days of drop camera surveys from Tad’s dragger, F/V Julianne.
The 2015 stats:
- Dive surveys:
- Muscle Ridge – 14 dive sites completed with two 50 m belt transects done at each site (Read about Bailey’s dive experience here)
- Ocean Point – 6 dive sites completed with two 50 m belt transects done at each site
- Drop camera surveys: The Stokesbury crew joined us once again and completed 192 sites (same number as last year!).
- Spat Bags:
- We recovered 7 of the 16 lines that were deployed in the fall of 2014 inside and outside of the Ocean Point and Muscle Ridge closed areas. Bailey, our scallop project research assistant, counted 17,772 juvenile scallops (Bailey, please come back next season, I promise, we’ll subsample! You can read about the spat bag processing here)
- In September and early October, we deployed 4 lines on Ocean Point with the help of the Maine Department of Marine Resources scientists and Marine Patrol and 12 lines on Muscle Ridge.
- Shell growth rate analysis:
- In January, Rosemary, a Casco Bay High School student, joined us to help analyze the scallop shells we’ve collected over the years. We analyzed approximately 450 – still have quite a few more to go, but we made a good dent! (You can read about Rosemary’s experience here)
Stay tuned for updates about next season. We’re hoping to hit the ground running as soon as we can!