Home News Clam Study Receives Funding

Clam Study Receives Funding Print
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 15:20

Dr. S. Anne Boettger has received research funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program to study the causes of population decline in the soft-shelled clam, Mya arenaria. Her study will target reducing and eliminating factors like disease.

The soft-shell clam Mya arenaria is harvested commercially in the US and been a reliable source of income for local fisherman. Since 1980’s, the annual harvest has drastically declined and loss of seasonal and full-time jobs has been significant in New England and the Chesapeake Bay Area. Soft-shell clam hemic neoplasia (a blood disease) is one of the six most devastating bivalve diseases and one of very few marine diseases that has been characterized at the molecular level, yet almost nothing is known about the environmental triggers, annual frequencies and development of this disease. Based on extensive preliminary data, Dr. Boettger's research team is on the verge of developing the most complete picture to date for any proliferative disease in a marine invertebrate.

Despite large investments and the successful elimination of most pollution sources, the Northeast in general and the Chesapeake Bay in particular have a long history of coastal contamination with the result that historical contamination remains as a substantial source of pollution. By increasing our basic biological understanding of the mechanisms of soft-clam neoplasia and its progression, this investigation will provide key data for managing healthier clam population by understanding disease establishment at specific sites and potentially reducing the annual frequency of clam neoplasia in populations along the US East coast.

seemore....Image Gallery: Collecting Clams




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