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Bay Scallop Monitoring

divers underwater looking for scallops in seagrass


To assess the status of bay scallop restoration efforts, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute scientists conduct adult population surveys each summer in the Florida Panhandle. Researchers monitor sites from Pensacola Bay to St. George Sound. They survey randomly selected stations at each site located in seagrass beds in depths up to 10 feet. At each station, researchers deploy a 100-meter, weighted transect line. Two divers – one on either side of the line – each count all scallops within a meter-wide area along the line, for a total survey area of 200 square meters.

Divers measure the first 30 scallops at each station to determine the average size of the population. Researchers compare estimates between years and sites to determine if bay scallop populations are maturing at different rates. Using the results of transect surveys, researchers can evaluate if the populations are increasing in size since restoration efforts began.