What factors control reproduction in the Sunray Venus Clam, Macrocallista nimbosa?
Sunray venus clams are native to Florida and have been recognized as a potential commercial species for many years. Recently, growers in Florida have begun producing sunrays for local restaurants. The supply has not met demand due to the lack of a reliable supply of juvenile (seed) clams.
Researchers with the Gulf Shellfish Institute, in collaboration with a commercial shellfish hatchery, are investigating the factors that control the reproductive process so that juveniles can be produced throughout the year.
Funding source: Aquaculture Review Council, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Do native clams, Mercenaria campechiensis, enhance seagrass growth?
The Gulf Shellfish Institute is working with Port Manatee to determine the effectiveness of planting native clams as a means of augmenting seagrass production in Tampa Bay. Researchers will compare water quality, sediment composition, and seagrass growth between areas stocked with clams and areas receiving no clams.
Clams were once a commercial fishery in Tampa Bay. Not only will this project help improve water quality in the bay (and thus support enhanced seagrass production), it will help restock this once valuable resource.
Funding Source: Tampa Bay Environmental Restoration Fund (Tampa Bay Estuary Program)