Modeling Marine Bivalve Populations: Approaches and Challenges

Eileen Hofmann, is a Professor in the Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and a member of the Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, both at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia.  Her research interests are in the areas of physical-biological interactions in marine ecosystems, marine shellfish population dynamics, and descriptive physical oceanography.  She uses mathematical modeling as a tool to understand marine ecosystem processes and responses environmental controls.  Her recent research on marine bivalves has focused on transmission dynamics of marine diseases and climate control of population distributions.  She has worked in a variety of marine environments, most recently Delaware Bay, the Middle Atlantic Bight, and the Ross Sea


 The multiple uses of molluscs

Prof. dr. Aad Smaal is the Chair of Sustainable Shellfish Aquaculture at Wageningen University & Senior Scientist at the Institute of Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies (IMARES) The Netherlands. He is particularly interested in the role of bivalve shellfish in the ecosystem and the various goods and services they deliver. This concept is now applied in projects on sustainable shellfish culture in relation to nature conservation and shellfish restoration, including carrying capacity issues. A novel aspect is the use of shellfish beds as eco-engineers in coastal protection, for which various studies are being carried out. He is also involved in projects to develop land-based integrated multi-trophic aquaculture that includes the farming of worms and fish, and algae and bivalves. The need for expansion of low food chain aquaculture is evident and it is a challenge to contribute to development that make use of the many synergies that bivalve aquaculture offers if properly combined with other interests.  Main research topics are carrying capacity of the ecosystem for bivalves and the positive feedbacks through nutrient regeneration, and activities of the farmers in managing the stocks. Novel issues regard the use of oyster beds as eco-engineers and the potential for combining this with aquatic production.


The astonishing eyes and brains of scallops 

Daniel Speiser is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC). He graduated from Carleton College (Northfield, MN) in 2003 and earned a PhD as a member of Sönke Johnsen’s Sensory Ecology lab at Duke University in 2010. He was a post-doc in Todd Oakley’s Evolutionary Biology lab at U.C. Santa Barbara from 2011-2014. The Speiser Lab uses an integrative approach to study relationships between structure and function in an evolutionary context. In particular, we study the structure, function, and evolution of visual systems to learn how and why different types of eyes have evolved in separate groups of animals. For example, we study the function and evolution of the eyes of scallops, a family of swimming bivalves. The eyes of scallops are single-chambered like the camera eyes of vertebrates and cephalopods, but use a mirror for image-formation instead of a lens.  We are also studying scallops to learn about the neurobiology that underlies highly dispersed visual systems and how spatial vision and complex brains may co-evolve in different lineages. My official university website is:  My personal lab website:


The role of science in shellfish management; the sea scallop resource in a changing environment

Kevin Stokesbury received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from Acadia University,  his Ph.D. from Universite Laval, and is currently the Chair of the Department of Fisheries Oceanography at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.  His research focuses on the principles of marine and estuarine ecology, fisheries biology, population dynamics, and marine ecosystems. A continuous theme is spatial and temporal distributions, on various scales, of marine invertebrates and fish, and how these distributions relate to community structure and habitat. Since 1999 his laboratory with members of the commercial sea scallop industry have completed over 200 video cruises surveying Georges Bank and the Mid-Atlantic (>1000 days at sea) covering the entire scallop resource (60,000 km2) from 2003 to 2015. These data provide assessments of scallop and other macroinvertebrate densities, and sediment and habitat distributions in closed and open areas in US and Canadian waters.  This work aided in developing limited fisheries in the closed areas of Georges Bank, which resulted in a catch worth $30 million in 1999 and $25 million in 2000, with an impact to the local economy of approximately $100 million per year. For the past 15 years New Bedford, MA, has been the number one fishing port in the United States for value landed because of the sea scallop harvest.  He received the Wallace Award from NSA in 2013.