How Do Scallops Swim?
Department of Biology
Scallops are bivalve mollusks that live on the seabed. This way of life makes them susceptible to predation and so they have evolved the ability to escape by swimming. This interrupted case study is based on a few observations and simple experiments which provide an opportunity in turn for students to develop their own hypotheses and experiments. Students will draw parallels between the vertebrate patella tendon reflex and the system that controls the rhythmic muscle contractions seen during scallop swimming. The case was designed for a one-semester animal physiology course taken by sophomore and junior science majors; it could also be used in a general biology course.
- Describe how sensory feedback can control rhythmic motor output to the striated muscle.
- Describe the role of the striated adductor muscle in swimming.
- Describe the role of the smooth adductor muscle in swimming.
- Construct a hypothesis.
- Design experiments to test a hypothesis.
- Analyze and interpret results.
KeywordsMovement; muscle contraction; scallop; mollusk; experimental design; experiment; hypothesis; data analysis
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division
Type / MethodsDirected, Discussion, Interrupted
Subject HeadingsPhysiology | Biology (General) | Neuroscience | Zoology | Science (General) |