scallop_seastats - secretive bivalve that spends most of...

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secretive bivalve that spends shells. Its upper valve is a dark most of its short life hiding in mottled color, occasionally grasses, the bay bright yellow or orange, and its scallop is a prized dinner entree lower valve is typically white. for many Floridians and an Bay scallops may reach a shell important component of the height of two inches and live two marine ecosystem. Although bay years, although in Florida their scallops historically were a valu- Underwater Canaries life span is generally only one able seafood commodity, declin- year. ing populations in many coastal areas of FI~rida The bay scallop feeds continuously by "vac- have prompted restrictions that now allow only uuming" or filtering small particles of algae and recreational harvests. Scallops are highly sensi- organic matter from the water. It does this by tive to changes in water quality and therefore are funneling water over open pathways called an accurate barometer of an ecosystem's h ! lth. One of these pathways takes in water and just as coal miners used canaries to detect an- off particles, while another expels the ing oxygen levels or the presence of dang rous water along with digestive wastes. gases, the bay scallop provides an early-wanning Scallops open their valves when feeding or system for scientists monitoring the quality of Florida's coastal waters. I An adult bay scallop can pump as much as 15.5 quarts of water per hour. t " Description i ;'" The bay scallop is a member of the shellfish am- ily known as bivalves-for its two valve$, or Scallop art after Pete Carmichael photo; used with permission. 2gb
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ductive organs is influenced by the amount of food available and the surrounding water tem- perature. If too little food is present, the scallop will direct all its energy toward survival and will forego reproduction. A change in water temperature may trigger spawning. In Florida, spawning occurs in the fall when the temperature drops, although elsewhere in their range, bay scallops typically spawn ear- lier in the year when the temperature rises. Each scallop is capable of producing millions of eggs at once, but the mortality rate is extremely high. Only one egg out of 12 million may survive to adulthood. In about 36 hours, the fertilized eggs become tiny larvae that float in the water for about 14 days before attaching to the base of seagrass blades. At this time, larvae are transformed into juvenile scallops, commonly called spat. The spat gradually move up the seagrass blades, out of the reach of bottom-dwelling predators such a"s crabs. But even then, survival is uncertain. As
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This note was uploaded on 07/31/2011 for the course OCB 6050 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at University of South Florida.

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scallop_seastats - secretive bivalve that spends most of...

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