Forget diplomatic conclaves and Congressional caucuses. The real action this winter was in Portland, Maine, site of the first-ever Mud Summit. The Casco Bay Estuary Partnership brought together distinguished marine scientists from around New England to review Friends of Casco Bay’s clam flat work and advise us on next steps. Although there were as many recommendations as there were researchers (more than 30), they came to a consensus on our idea to focus our investigation this year on the in-depth monitoring of a single clam flat.
By sampling one flat repeatedly, from April through October, from high tide to low tide, we should get a better idea of how pH varies across a flat.
In addition, we will collect mud samples for researchers Mark Green of St. Joseph’s College and Joe Salisbury of the University of New Hampshire to analyze for calcium carbonate saturation state. Calcium carbonate is the material that clams use to build their shells. By comparing their results with ours, we expect to affirm the relationship of measuring pH levels to the potential to form carbonate, strengthening the use of pH as a way to monitor clam flats.
We also may plant clam spat in the mud to see how they fare in different pH situations.