Marine Biology

, Volume 162, Issue 4, pp 823–840 | Cite as

Effects of ecosystem protection on scallop populations within a community-led temperate marine reserve

  • Leigh M. Howarth
  • Callum M. Roberts
  • Julie P. Hawkins
  • Daniel J. Steadman
  • Bryce D. Beukers-Stewart
Original Paper


This study investigated the effects of a newly established, fully protected marine reserve on benthic habitats and two commercially valuable species of scallop in Lamlash Bay, Isle of Arran, United Kingdom. Annual dive surveys from 2010 to 2013 showed the abundance of juvenile scallops to be significantly greater within the marine reserve than outside. Generalised linear models revealed this trend to be significantly related to the greater presence of macroalgae and hydroids growing within the boundaries of the reserve. These results suggest that structurally complex habitats growing within the reserve have substantially increased spat settlement and/or survival. The density of adult king scallops declined threefold with increasing distance from the boundaries of the reserve, indicating possible evidence of spillover or reduced fishing effort directly outside and around the marine reserve. However, there was no difference in the mean density of adult scallops between the reserve and outside. Finally, the mean age, size, and reproductive and exploitable biomass of king scallops were all significantly greater within the reserve. In contrast to king scallops, the population dynamics of queen scallops (Aequipecten opercularis) fluctuated randomly over the survey period and showed little difference between the reserve and outside. Overall, this study is consistent with the hypothesis that marine reserves can encourage the recovery of seafloor habitats, which, in turn, can benefit populations of commercially exploited species, emphasising the importance of marine reserves in the ecosystem-based management of fisheries.


Fishing Marine Reserve Nursery Habitat Spawn Stock Biomass Reproductive Biomass 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was predominantly funded by Fauna and Flora International and partly by the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) to whom we are very grateful. Likewise, we thank the many people who have helped support this project over the years, particularly to Ocean Breeze Rib Tours and COAST for providing logistical support, and to Tim Cross, Pascal Dubois, Lowri Evans, Paul Gratton, Angus Robson and Sarah Pickup for their assistance in the field. Thank you to Ruth Hoban and Owain Slater for their expertise in ArcGIS. Thank you to Eamon Murphy of Marine Scotland for organising permission to take scallop samples from the marine reserve, and to Shona Kinnear for providing us with scallop landings data for the Firth of Clyde.

Supplementary material

227_2015_2627_MOESM1_ESM.docx (56 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 55 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leigh M. Howarth
    • 1
  • Callum M. Roberts
    • 1
  • Julie P. Hawkins
    • 1
  • Daniel J. Steadman
    • 1
  • Bryce D. Beukers-Stewart
    • 1
  1. 1.Ecosystems and Society Research Group, Department of EnvironmentUniversity of YorkHeslington, YorkUK

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