Saturday, August 23, 2014

8/23/2014: Northernmost, Deepest living Clams in the World Found Today

Today we accomplished a much anticipated task that we had high hopes for but we unsure of our ability to complete. Using two big boats (Thorleif's and a friend's commercial fishing boat) the whole crew, 'cept two, set out to the deep water and as I write this our boat is back with what are now the first documented, northernmost/deepest clams in the world.  
Our captains prepping the boats
Front view of the boats 
Dr. Ambrose on his way to find some deep clams
I would normally say such an outrageous statement with caution but I have been assured by two respectable scientists I trust that I can be so bold (and copyright it for my new fried clams stand).

Throleif and Michael sending the dredge

The entire day was spent on the water and the rolling waves did their best to instill digestive distress, but we prevailed. Our first two dredges produced clams that would be useful for potential cross dating and understanding of earlier records in time but the golden goose came in the form of two live clams, thought to be about 10 years old. Being found in water 90 fathoms deep (165 meters), their growth rates appear to be roughly half that of those in fresh water. In the deeper water there is much less food delivery to the clams as much of it gets remineralized in the water column as it slowly sinks to the bottom. That means little buggers eat the plankton before it gets to the starving bivalve. 

Sometimes hand gestures are the most useful form of communication on a loud boat

We just got back and the other team plans to stay out late while we (well Mike and Julie) make supper. Hopefully they have better luck during the slack tide than the areas they tried this morning over the horizon off the continental shelf. We need all the deep clams we can get for the record but the pressure is off to a large degree with "Lucky & Smiles," the names I've dubbed our two now famous clams. Back to the big boats tomorrow morning. 

I really enjoy watching the winch pick up the dredge rather than hand hauling.

'Lucky' and 'Smiles' are on the left together with the older shells gathered on the right. They are the more tannish/orange color.

No comments:

Post a Comment