Through the years, Downeast Institute has conducted research on sea scallops, Placopecten magellanicus, in the hatchery and in the field and has also raised cultured scallops in the hatchery.
Sea scallops are an important wild fishery in Maine, and aquaculture ventures to farm this valuable species are emerging. DEI’s past research focused on wild stock enhancement, but recent efforts have focused on developing hatchery methods to improve seed availability for scallop farmers.
DEI’s Boreal Culture Room allows us to condition broodstock and rear larvae and juveniles of colder climate species by maintaining seawater temperature below 50 °F (10 °C).
Typically, sea scallops in the wild spawn in the late summer or early fall. DEI has developed a regimen of feeding our adult scallop broodstock with several species of cultured microalgae and manipulating seawater temperatures in order to entice them to spawn at other times. In Maine, scallop larvae typically spend between 25 and 40 days as veligers, before undergoing metamorphosis and settling out of the water column as juvenile scallops.
Left: a 20 day old scallop with a fully-developed larval shell and a full gut of digested cultured microalgae.
Right: Recently metamorphosed sea scallop juveniles. Animals are around 200 microns in shell length.