UNE Marine Science students publish paper on invasive green crabs

Green crab

September 06, 2017

Marine Science students Anthony Himes, Wingcue Balschi, and Gwen Pelletier and their advisor, Professor Markus Frederich, Ph.D., published a research paper in the peer reviewed Journal of Shellfish Research. The paper is titled "Color phase-specific ion regulation of the European green crab, Carcinus maenas in an oscillating salinity environment."

The paper is the culmination of four years of work, including building an aquarium tank setup that automatically changes the sea water salinity every six hours to simulate a regular tidal cycle, a five-year monthly population survey of crabs in the intertidal zone of Biddeford Pool and countless tissue samples analyzed for protein and gene expression of different stress markers and ion transporters.

The key finding of this study is that the stress tolerance towards low salinity of the highly invasive crab species changes throughout its molt cycle, and that twice-daily changing salinities pose only a very limited stress level on this species. These findings have multiple implication for understanding the invasion potential and management of this species.

Himes completed his 4+1 masters thesis in Marine Science in 2015 after working in Frederich's research lab since his sophomore year. Balschi worked on the project in his junior and senior year and graduated 2015. Pelletier recently defended her 4+1 masters thesis after working in Frederich's research lab since her freshman year.

Frederich commented, “This multi-year project is a perfect example of high quality undergraduate research involving multiple students, and ultimately leading to two masters theses. Additional publications from this project are currently in preparation.”

To learn more about the University of New England’s Department of Marine Sciences visit www.une.edu/cas/marine

To learn more about the University of New England’s Center for Excellence in Marine Sciences, visit www.une.edu/research/msc

To apply, visit www.une.edu/admissions

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