When it comes to clams, does size really matter? One Maine scientist is on a quest to find out. Concerned for the future of the state’s second most valuable fishery, Brian Beal, a marine ecology professor at the University of Maine at Machias and the director of research at Downeast Institute, is embarking on a study to determine if large soft shell clams produce more eggs than their smaller counterparts. If, like lobsters, jumbo clams do spawn exponentially more eggs, it could justify taking another look at statewide conservation measures to preserve the dwindling number of clams along Maine’s coast. “The clam fishery is in trouble in Maine,” said Dianne Tilton, the head of the Downeast Institute, which learned earlier this month that the federal government would fund the study.

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