The small free-swimming scallops, Chlamys hastata and Chlamys rubida, are frequently encrusted by the sponges Mycale adhaerens and Myxilla incrustans. It is unclear why this association exists. We hypothesized that living on scallop valves increases sponge survival by reducing the effects of sediment accumulation. Scallops were collected to measure correlations between sediment load and encrusting sponge mass. In the laboratory, the survival of sponges on living scallops and empty scallop valves was measured. Time-lapse video was used to quantify spontaneous swimming and clapping of C. hastata. In the field, both scallop size and sponge mass were significantly greater in high turbidity sites. In the laboratory, sponges on empty scallop valves experienced near complete mortality after five weeks. Manually clearing sediments increased survival but did not duplicate the high survival of sponges on living scallops, which regularly swam or clapped their valves.
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