A common type of scallop may be able to reveal clues about water quality and could be used to track water pollution, a new study has found.
According to Science Now, scientists have found that certain scallops, through their ability to "cough out" water, are potentially good indicators of water pollution.
Scallops are a cosmopolitan family, found in oceans worldwide. According to the study, some species of scallops display slowed growth in poor quality water that contains toxic algae or low levels of oxygen.
The condition of the shell's ridges usually indicates how well a scallop is growing, a little like the thickness of rings in a tree. This method has been known for a few years; but scientists have recently devised a new and faster way of using scallops to assess water pollution.
In a study published by the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, France's Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer noted that the frequency in which a scallop coughs out water is also an effective indicator of water pollution.
When a scallop "coughs out" water it does so to expel waste and water through its valves, making a popping sound. Researchers hope that by analyzing cough patterns in high and poor water quality, they can develop a system of detection that could give clues about water quality.