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Mote scientists discover record number of baby scallops in Sarasota Bay

Mote Marine Laboratory tallied a record number of baby scallops from restoration site on March 25.

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  • | 1:35 p.m. March 31, 2015
  • Longboat Key
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Researchers from Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, recently found a record number of baby scallops in a Sarasota Bay restoration site on March 25.

Mote senior scientist Jim Cutler, intern Devon Witczak and Japanese guest professor Tetsu Sato of RIHN collected 114 juvenile scallops, most of which were smaller than a fingernail. Mote’s previous record count is just 39 scallops.

Cutler, Witzcak and Sato brought the scallops to Mote, where they will be raised and returned to the wild when they are bigger.

“We’ve been raising scallops to a larger size before putting them into the Bay, which our research suggests will make them less vulnerable to predators and give them a better chance to survive, spawn and have larvae settle in the area,” Cutler said in a news release. “We think it might be working.”

Around 1960, Mote’s scallop populations radically decreased due to water quality, extreme red tides, destruction of seagrass habitat and overharvesting.

To restore the populations in Sarasota, Mote is works with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Sarasota Bay Watch, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Sarasota County, Bay Shellfish Co., local business leaders and volunteer citizen scientists.


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