Ninilchik Beach Razor Clam Study

MAR 224 Marine Field Work

On November 17, 2010 thousands of Pacific Razor Clams were found dead on Ninilchik beach. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game speculated that a winter storm might have washed the clams up causing the die off. Working under a cooperative agreement between APU Marine Biology Professor Brad Harris and ADF&G, eight students worked side-by-side with the state scientists for a week to determine the abundance of Pacific Razor Clams on Ninilchik beach. Prior to the survey each student conducted an in-depth analysis of potential die-off mechanisms with focus on clam life cycle, reproduction, diet/feeding, population, habitat, environmental anomalies, predators/parasites, and other mass mortalities. During the survey students spent 5-7 hours out on the Ninilchik beach and worked to enter the data each evening. In the last four days of the course back on campus students worked long hours to analyze the data and write a final report.