AEI 3:11-21 (2012)  -  DOI:

Effects of hydraulic shellfish dredging on the ecology of a
cultivated clam bed

Ronald Goldberg*, Renée Mercaldo-Allen, Julie M. Rose, Paul Clark, Catherine Kuropat, Shannon Meseck,
Jose Pereira

NOAA Fisheries, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Milford Laboratory, 212 Rogers Avenue, Milford, Connecticut 06460, USA

ABSTRACT: A before-after-control-impact (BACI)-style experimental design was used to assess the short-term effects of hydraulic clam dredging on the benthic community of a leased shellfish bed along the Connecticut coast of Long Island Sound, where hard clams Mercenaria mercenaria are cultivated. Three replicate samples were collected from 6 plots (0.67 ha each) on a weekly basis from May through October 2009. Dredging was conducted in early July in 3 of the 6 plots, while 3 control plots were not dredged. Pairwise comparisons and multivariate analyses of main effects and interactions indicated that ecological indices did not differ significantly between dredged and not dredged plots, although sample date and plot both had significant effects. Assemblages of individual species were associated with specific sediment types found within the clam bed. Natural seasonal settlement patterns and sediment grain size had a greater influence on the benthic community than discrete hydraulic clam dredging.

KEY WORDS: Benthic macrofauna · Species composition · Before-after-control-impact design · Mercenaria mercenaria · Molluscan aquaculture

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Cite this article as: Goldberg R, Mercaldo-Allen R, Rose JM, Clark P, Kuropat C, Meseck S, Pereira J (2012) Effects of hydraulic shellfish dredging on the ecology of a
cultivated clam bed. Aquacult Environ Interact 3:11-21.

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