The Downeast Institute’s Sara Randall presented the results of DEI’s field research into the effects of sediment buffering and predator exclusion on soft-shell clams during the Ocean Acidification plenary session of the Gulf of Maine 2050 International¬† Symposium.

Three hundred leaders from  from across New England and the Maritime Provinces converged for this event to learn how the Gulf of Maine is expected to change in the next 30 years, build a shared vision for regional resilience, and activate new collaborations for action.

DEI’s research was one of 18 oral plenary presentations given at the conference. The presentation, “Effects of sediment buffering and predator exclusion on soft-shell clams”, summarized three years of field research conducted at four intertidal locations in Freeport which found that sediment buffering using different densities and sizes of buffer in low pH flats did not significantly increase clam populations. Meanwhile, protecting clams from predators did result in a significantly higher amount of clams surviving. Interestingly, the nets used for predator protection created a more acidic environment. Despite the more corrosive environment clams survived. The presentation also touched on Dr. Brian Beal and Dr. William Otto’s 2018 research in 2018 in downeast Maine which found similar results in that clams survived best under nets despite the more corrosive environment.

Here is the presentation.

For more details about the results of the individual studies see:

2014: Description on our website here (Study # 4). In the Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant progress reports here (Experiment III) and here (Experiment III).

2015: Description on the website here (Study # 3). In the Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant progress report here (Experiment III). The Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant final report has a summary of the results from 2014 and 2015, and can be found here.

2016: Description on the website here (Study #2 with video of the presentation at the 2017 Maine Fishermen’s Forum of the results).

2018: Website description here, including a 2019 Maine Fishermen’s Forum presentation about the results. Saltonstall-Kennedy Final Report here.

In addition, DEI was awarded a Collaborative Action Grant at the Symposium. The Collaborative Grant partnered with Eastern Charlotte Waterways Inc to transfer clam recruitment box technology to clammers in New Brunswick Canada. DEI will teach the fishermen how to use the boxes to measure clam recruitment and survival.


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