Marine Landscape Ecology Lab

Department of Marine Science

The Impact of the Asian Shore Crab on Intertidal Communities in Long Island Sound

As part of a collaborative effort with Fairfield University and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration our lab has recently completed a study looking at the impact of foraging by the invasive Asian Shore Crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus, on populations of the blue mussel, Mytilus edulis. Our study suggests that Hemigrapsus can cause a 30% decrease in survivorship in populations of this conspicuous member of the Long Island Sound shoreline. When measured in conjunction with natural background mortality of this mussel the additional mortality imposed by Hemigrapsus can potentially reduce the ability of this economically and ecologically important organism to filter the waters in Long Island Sound. The ongoing loss of this essential ecosystem service may thus contribute to the severe hypoxic events that are often observed in Long Island Sound.

Asian shore crab.
Asian shore crab.