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26 December 2019 Carbon Mineralization Associated with Aquaculture of the Northern Quahog Mercenaria mercenaria
Patrick Baker, Shirley M. Baker
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Molluscs mineralize carbon as calcium carbonate in shells within a protein matrix that is a small portion of the total shell mass. In parts of Florida, the northern quahog Mercenaria mercenaria is cultured in mesh bags in shallow coastal marine habitats. These habitats were selected by the State of Florida for their pre-existing lack of large molluscan populations, so most of the shell material harvested by aquaculture operations would not otherwise exist. The carbonate content of shell material was quantified by coulometry, and shell production was estimated per harvested clam, and per unit area per year. The majority of the shell material harvested (about 91%) was M. mercenaria, and the remainder came from other species of molluscs that grew in or on the mesh bags. Of the non-Mercenaria shell material, most (8.5% of total percentage) came from oysters (Crassostrea virginica and Ostrea stentina), and the rest from at least 37 other species of molluscs and other shelled taxa. Each harvested market-size clam represented approximately 2.93 g of mineralized carbon, including shell material that was not part of the marketed clams. Clam leases in full production produced about 1.0 × 103 g of mineralized carbon per square meter per year, including nonclam shell material, and the Florida northern quahog industry produced about 534 metric tons of mineralized carbon in 2008. This mineralization resulted in an estimated atmospheric efflux of 374 tons of metabolic-independent carbon in the form of carbon dioxide, from the Florida northern quahog industry in 2008.

Patrick Baker and Shirley M. Baker "Carbon Mineralization Associated with Aquaculture of the Northern Quahog Mercenaria mercenaria," Journal of Shellfish Research 38(3), 519-527, (26 December 2019).
Published: 26 December 2019

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