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This tag-and-release research/education project focuses on population ecology of the horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) in Long Island Sound.
Jennifer Mattei of Sacred Heart University's Biology Department is the principle investigator of this long-term community-wide research project. The Maritime Aquarium participates by training volunteers to tag and collect data on horseshoe crabs encountered during field studies.
Horseshoe crabs have great ecological and biomedical importance. Survival of migratory shorebirds has been linked to the horseshoe crab's breeding season as these birds depend on horseshoe crab eggs as a food source to fuel a 9,000-mile migration. Additionally, a component in horseshoe crab blood is used to detect bacterial contamination in manufactured drugs and other pharmaceutical products. By understanding the population dynamics of this species, we will be better able to manage their harvest and prevent their extinction.
Frogs and toads play a crucial role in wetland ecosystems and are considered indicators of environmental health. Many frog and toad populations have been in decline, and it is important to understand the scope, geographic scale, and cause of these declines. FrogWatch U.S.A. is a national citizen science project run through A.Z.A. focused on inspiring conservation through education. Once volunteers are trained to identify frogs by their unique calls, they select a local wetland to monitor through the spring and summer. We are have partnered with The Yale Peabody Museum and Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo to form the Peabody-Beardsley-Maritime Chapter.
The Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys t. terrapin) is a species of special concern in the state of Connecticut. One of the greatest threats to turtles, including the diamondback terrapin, is road mortality. In an effort to mitigate car strikes, The Terrapin Tracking Project was developed by The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), The Connecticut Department of Transportation, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, and Western Connecticut State University. Trained citizen scientists are assigned a roadway to monitor for terrapin mortalities once a week from April through September. Trained monitors need to be 18 years or older. Children can accompany a trained adult.
Invented by citizen science staff at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (Lila Higgins) and California Academy of Sciences (Alison Young). The City Nature Challenge is an international effort for people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. It’s a bioblitz-style competition where cities are in a contest against each other to see who can make the most observations of nature, who can find the most species, and who can engage the most people.
In April 2020, The Maritime Aquarium organized Fairfield County & Westchester County's effort of this four-day international event.