Blue crab research

Blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) not only is an important predator structuring the benthic community in estuaries along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of North America the Chesapeake Bay, but also supports important commercial fisheries throught this range. Like many estuarine species, blue crab exhibits a complex life history with stages occuring in both the estuary and higher salinity coastal waters. Thus, different life stages of blue crab are spatially separated along a salinity gradient. Moreover, the expression of this life history pattern is also influenced by temperature. The effects of temperature vary across the wide latitudinal range (South America to Atlantic Canada) that characterizes blue crab. In tropical and sub-tropical parts of the species range, blue crab can complete their life cycle within a year and release of zoea can occur year-round. From mid-latitudes northwards, low winter temperatures force the species to halt growth and overwinter in the sediments. This delays maturation and produces a more pulsed recruitment pattern. changes however over the wide latitudinal range across which this species is found.

QuaFEL research seeks to understand and predict patterns in the abundance and distribution of blue crab. Research has focused:

Selected early publications from the lab's research on blue crab include:

QuaFEL research areas


Blue crab ecology

Multispecies interactions

Fisheries Oceanography

Elasmobranch ecology


Last revised: 4/3/2015