In the scope of expanding seeding operations of juvenile scallops (Placopecten magellanicus) around Îles-de-la-Madeleine (Quebec, Canada), this study assesses the influence of substrate on growth, survival, dispersal and predation rates in controlled experiments. Three substrates were tested: gravel, sand and sand with empty scallop shells (to investigate the feasibility of modifying the substrate as a management strategy). Dispersal rates were studied with a substrate choice experiment. Predation experiments with two major scallop predators, the rock crab Cancer irroratus and the sea star Asterias vulgaris, were carried out on different substrate types. No significant difference in growth was observed among substrates and no mortality was observed during the experiment. This suggests other factors, such as hydrodynamics, may be more important than substrate. The dispersal rate was significantly greater on sandy substrate, whereas gravel and sand–shells had similar results. Crab predation was lower on the more heterogeneous substrate (i.e., gravel) whereas, sea star predation was lower on sand. Modifying the natural sand substrate by adding scallop shells could improve seeding success because it diminishes dispersal and predation by crabs.
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Vol. 25 • No. 1