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Effects of recreational clam harvesting on eelgrass (Zostera marina) and associated infaunal invertebrates: in situ manipulative experiments
Boese, B.L. (2002). Effects of recreational clam harvesting on eelgrass (Zostera marina) and associated infaunal invertebrates: in situ manipulative experiments. Aquat. Bot. 73(1): 63-74
In: Aquatic Botany. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0304-3770, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Aquatic animals; Aquatic plants; Disturbances; Harvesting; Primary production; Sediment; Sediments; Zostera marina Linnaeus, 1753 [WoRMS]; Marine

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  • Boese, B.L.

Abstract
    The effect of recreational clam harvesting on eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) was experimentally tested by raking or digging for clams in experimental 1m2 plots located in a Yaquina Bay (Newport, OR, USA) eelgrass meadow. After three monthly treatments, eelgrass measures of biomass, primary production (leaf elongation), and percent cover were compared between experimental and control (undisturbed) plots. Benthic macro (retained on 0.5mm mesh sieve) and mega (retained on 3mm sieve) infaunal samples were also taken to compare species number and abundances. Results indicated that clam raking did not appreciably impact any measured parameter. In contrast, clam digging reduced eelgrass cover, above-ground biomass and below-ground biomass in measurements made 1 month after the last of three monthly treatments. Although differences between control and treatment plots persisted 10 months after the last clam digging treatment, these differences were not statistically significant. Approximately 10% of the eelgrass of Yaquina Bay is subjected to recreational clamming and as this activity is generally less intense than that employed in this study, it is unlikely that recreational clamming has a major impact on eelgrass beds in the Yaquina estuary. This conclusion should be viewed with caution as multi-year disturbances were not investigated and there are differences in sediment characteristics and clam abundances between experimental sites and those sites that are intensively harvested by the public.

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