We are a research and education program within the Aquaculture Innovation and Global Food Security Department of FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. The Queen Conch Lab is led by research professor, Megan Davis, Ph.D.
Over the past four decades Dr. Megan Davis has combined her strengths in aquaculture, marine ecology, technology transfer, business and project management to lead several international projects in Florida and throughout the Caribbean. She works on community-, industry- and fishery-based projects. For example: she was co-founder of the Turks and Caicos Islands’ commercial-scale queen conch farm; part of the Florida team that retrained commercial fishers to be clam farmers; and the science team lead on a large-scale spiny lobster research aquaculture project in the Caribbean. She is Principal Investigator for the NOAA-funded Puerto Rico community-based pilot-scale queen conch hatchery and provides scientific advice for other queen conch projects in The Bahamas and Curaçao. Megan has served the aquaculture and marine science community through several leadership roles at FAU Harbor Branch, as well as through membership on regional and national boards. She is Chair for the NOAA Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC) and was lead for the MAFAC seafood promotion task group. Megan is passionate about healthy and sustainable seafood and sea vegetable choices and shares information through her culinary demonstrations.
Involving community members in our projects is important because it connects locals with their marine environment and often times provides them with alternate livelihoods.
Our experiences with queen conch in an aquaculture setting provides communities with options for conserving and restoring the species for future generations.
We believe that the sharing of knowledge and technical know-how will empower communities with the skills needed to grow conch for food and restoration.
A queen conch is an ocean snail known as a gastropod. It is one of the largest snails in the ocean!
Conch are important for many reasons! They are the second largest fisheries in the Caribbean/The Bahamas and are herbivores (vegetarians) that graze on microscopic algae on sand and seagrass blades.
According to studies that have lasted many years, conch populations are declining from overfishing and habitat changes across the Caribbean, The Bahamas and Florida.
Conch can live for a very long time! Depending on the conch's habitat, the conch can live for 40+ years!
Conch are sexually mature at 4-5 years old when they have a flared lip that is 15 mm or greater in thickness. Each country has specific conch fisheries management rules that need to be followed.
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