Wednesday, 9/7, was a big day at the Shellfish Resilience Lab. Four of us (Chantal, Elin, Mike, and Pauline) went to the lab to do a routine tank cleaning. Cabot, the Lab Labrador, was there as well, "guarding" the loading dock for us. We figured it would take about an hour and a half with all of us experienced tank cleaners there. Not so, it turns out.
Last week, Mike Pinkham and I spent a few days constructing five nursery trays that our small seed clams would soon be placed in. A nursery tray is a rectangular wooden tray about 3-4 feet in length and width, and about 3 inches high. The bottom and top of each tray is made of a … Continue reading Nursery Trays are Floating
In order for the clam lab to be cost effective, it is important that our clam population has a high survival rate as well as a typical growth rate. The good news is, most of our two-month-old clams have survived up to this point. The bad news is, their growth rate is significantly slower than … Continue reading Two-Month-Old Clam Growth Update
Since my time here, I have learned just how unpredictable it is to raise soft-shell clams in an upweller. Right when you think you have things under control, a new problem arises. We have been working hard, attempting to solve issues ranging from identifying and controlling harmful species in our upwellers, to water flow inconsistencies, … Continue reading One-Year-Old Clams: It’s Time For The Mud
Every other day, I hose down the one-year-old clams and their mesh-bottom buckets with salt water. As I was rinsing and washing these buckets, I saw an increasing number of unfamiliar organisms attached to the one-year-old clams. After discussing these organisms with the Downeast Institute (DEI) as well as the Department of Marine Resources (DMR), … Continue reading Tunicate Trouble
Last week, I culled all of our one-year-old clams that were around ¾ of an inch or larger and placed them in a separate bucket in the upweller. It was time for these clams to finally get in the mud. When clams grow to this ¾ inch size, they need to grow under pressure. If … Continue reading Seeding Our First Batch Of Clams
The flow of water through the upweller is different for each of the three buckets pictured at right. You can tell by the amount of sediment on the clams. The clams in the bucket on the left are pretty clean, the ones in the bucket on the right are covered with silt and other organic matter, and the ones in the middle are, well, in the middle.
Late in May, I collected and analyzed data on the one-year-old clams before they began feeding and rapidly growing. I was specifically focused on the average clam shell length and the estimated total number of live clams we had in the upweller. Our goal was to compare this data to the data that we collected … Continue reading One-Year-Old Clams: Growth and Mortality Report
The graph that you see at the top of this post shows the water temperatures in the shellfish lab's two tanks from 3 PM on June 5 to 3 PM today, June 12. Since the tanks get water from the same pump, the temperatures go up and down together. That's always been true until today. Between 2 and 3 AM, the temperature in Tank 2 began increasing slowly and started dropping in Tank 1. Then, at 7 AM, Tank 1 started warming quickly while Tank 2 continued its gradual increase. By 3:30 PM, there was a four-degree difference between the tanks! What was going on?
After a long winter, the clams are finally ready to start feeding and growing again. During the winter, the clams were packed together in mesh bags, lying dormant in one of the upweller tanks in the lab. This past week, we cleaned out the second upweller tank and, once filled with sea water, transferred the clams from the mesh bags into five-gallon mesh-bottom buckets where they could spread out while still having access to a constant flow of water.