The ocean quahog, Arctica islandica is a slow-growing species
of clam that occurs in the coastal margins of the northern Atlantic.
Although not harvested in Europe, in the USA this clam helps support
a multimillion dollar commercial quahog industry. Based on available
information, the life history of the ocean quahog is considerably
different from the faster-growing northern quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria)
that occurs in shallower waters. "Arctica islandica" found
in Maine is, on average, much smaller than the ocean quahog found
south of Boston or in European waters. The purpose of this project
is to examine the genetic subdivision (i.e., phylogeography) of A.
islandica using molecular tools (DNA sequence data and RFLP analysis).
We will determine if A. islandica , as currently recognized, constitutes
one panmictic population or several genetically distinct lineages.
The results of this study have substantial implications for the management
of a sustainable fishery for this organism (especially because of
its slow growth rate). Additionally, if the Maine quahogs are genetically
distinct, we will begin to look for possible factors (such as current
patterns and other physical or geological processes) that maintain
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