After a decade of work, Dr. Valerie Hall, a research associate with the Maria Mitchell Association, has produced a mathematical model that helps fishery managers and fisherman understand how the Nantucket bay scallop population survives environmental variation in Nantucket’s waters. Her work was published in the online journal Marine and Coastal Fisheries on October 2, 2015. David Gagnon, Executive Director of the Maria Mitchell Association, stated “Dr. Hall’s work is an excellent example of the benefits of collaborating and supporting our research associates to produce pier reviewed publications that are timely and critically important to the people of Nantucket and the environment. We look forward to future research findings as well.”
Previously thought to spawn only once, Nantucket bay scallops often spawn again in late summer or fall. According to Dr. Hall, the second spawn is a bet-hedging strategy that helps the population survive changes in the environment. If the first spawn fails or is very weak, scallops from the second spawn (“nubs”) help bridge the population gap in the following years. This work will help inform regulation decisions to keep the bay scallop fishery as healthy as possible into the future. Currently, Dr. Hall is working on a project to gather more information on nub scallops and their importance to the fishery.
“My research on the Nantucket bay scallop would not have been possible without the support of the Maria Mitchell Association, in particular, the guidance and encouragement of Bob Kennedy, Peter Boyce, and Andrew McKenna-Foster” said Dr. Hall.