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A Study of Macoma Clams in Tributaries of the Upper and Middle Chesapeake Bay

Published: January 01, 1990

This document reports on an extensive survey of the distribution and abundance of the Baltic clam (Macoma balthica)  and its near relative M. mitchelli in shallow-water zones of major tributaries and subtributaries of the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay.  The purpose of the survey was to establish a baseline of iformation for these widely distributed clams that comprise a significant portion of benthic biomass and are important prey of numerous aquatic organisms.  Macoma clams are important prey not only to numerous  fish and crabs, expecially the blue crav (Callinectes sapidus), but also to several species of wintering waterfowl (Antidae) that are of major management concern to the U.S. fish and Wildlife Service.  Foremost among these waterfowl is the canvasback (Aythya valisineria), to which the Chesapeake Bay is a critical wintering ground and for which the Baltic clam is a primary food source.

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