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Field examination of dispersion patterns of juvenile Iceland scallops (Chlamys islandica) in the northern Gulf of St Lawrence

  • David J. Arsenault (a1) (a2), Martin C. Giasson (a1) and John H. Himmelman (a1)


The movement of juvenile Iceland scallops, Chlamys islandica, was quantified in an inshore bed in the Mingan Islands, northern Gulf of St Lawrence, to examine whether the size partitioning over depth in this location, increasing scallop size with depth, results from a gradual downslope movement as scallops increase in size. Scallops of 30.0-44.9 mm and 45.0-59.9 mm in shell height were collected using SCUBA, tagged, and released in the centre of two 0.4-km2 grids at 15 m in depth. After 7 d and 48 d, the net distance moved by the scallops from the release points did not vary between the two size groups but varied significantly between grids. The majority of scallops (70-94%) moved downslope and the mean movement vectors were not orientated in the direction of tidal currents, but rather towards increasing depth. The downslope movement of the scallops was possibly explained by more prolonged swimming bouts when scallops swam downslope. The results suggest that the spatial size partitioning of Iceland scallops at this location is caused by a gradual downslope movement as the scallops increase in size. This study provides the first experimental evidence supporting the controversial hypothesis of recruitment into adult scallop populations involving swimming of juveniles from nursery areas.



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