Published Research

Please see below for recent research and conservation publications by The Maritime Aquarium's staff (aquarium personnel are noted in bold.)

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Two Non-Native Crab Species Found in Long Island Sound and Cape Cod Bay

Hudson DM, Schaefer-Padgett S, Christie BL, Harris R (2019) First record of introduction of Metacarcinus magister Dana, 1852 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Cancridae) and range extension of Eriocheir sinensis Milne-Edwards, 1853 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Varunidae) in the Long Island Sound. BioInvasions Records 8(2): 400–409

Invasive species have been found in the Long Island Sound since Europeans colonized its shores. The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk's scientists worked with local fishermen and oystermen to document two new records for male Dungeness crabs, Metacarcinus magister. One was collected in the Western Long Island Sound (2017) and the other in Massachusetts in Cape Cod Bay (2018). An additional male male Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis (Milne-Edwards, 1853), was found in New Haven Harbor, Connecticut. Both species could potentially harbor nonnative epibionts and endoparasites, and Chinese mitten crabs have caused millions of dollars of damage to places they have invaded worldwide.

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Asian shore crab invasion facilitated by salinity tolerance

Hudson D.M, Sexton D.J., Wint D, Capizzano C, Crivello J.F. 2018. Physiological and behavioral response of the Asian shore crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus, to salinity: implications for estuarine distribution and invasion. PeerJ 6:e5446

The invasive Asian shore crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus, is typically the crab you will find in the Long Island Sound if you turn over a rock at low tide. Its invasion back in the late 1980s was likely helped by the fact that this species is able to withstand a wide range of salinities, and could, therefore, outcompete the resident crabs in the intertidal zone. This study investigated the salinity effects on this animal by observing its behavioral preference, physiology, and survival across a range of salinities.

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Invasive Crustaceans Found in the Long Island Sound

Hudson DM, Schaefer-Padgett S, Christie BL, Harris R. Accepted. First-record of introduction of Metacarcinus magister Dana, 1852 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Cancridae) and range extension of Eriocheir sinensis Milne-Edwards, 1853 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Varunidae) in the Long Island Sound. BioInvasion Records.

Invasive crustacean species have been present in the Long Island Sound for over two centuries. Two new species introductions were recored from collections by local fishermen. One record is for a male Dungeness crab, Metacarcinus magister, collected in the Western Long Island Sound off Norwalk, Connecticut in July 2017. The other record is that of a range extension documented by a single male Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis (Milne-Edwards, 1853), found in New Haven Harbor, Connecticut. Both species are not native to the area, and both could potentially harbor other nonnative species and parasites that could affect local species. Additionally, the Chinese mitten crab, E. sinensis, is likely to establish, as it has in numerous locations in the region and worldwide.

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Urban Forests as Food Security for Wildlife

Bunge A, Diemont S, Bunge J, Harris S. 2019. Urban Foraging for Food Security and Sovereignty: Quantifying Edible Forest Yield in Syracuse, New York Using Four Common Fruit- and Nut- Producing Street Tree Species. Journal of Urban Ecology 5(1): juy028.

Urban foraging as a facet of the alternative food movement is explored in Syracuse, New York, using four common urban tree species: serviceberry, mulberry, apple and black walnut. Fruit from trees of each species was harvested and weighed weekly during the 2016 growing season. During sampling, foraging was also informally discussed with homeowners and passersby; strong interest in the practice was found across demographics. We conclude this study with recommendations for improving yields and designing a forage-rich urban forest.

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Food Safety for Wildlife: Lung Flukes in Crabs in Northern South America

Phillips G, Hudson DM, Chaparro-Gutiérrez JJ. 2018. Presence of Paragonimus species within secondary crustacean hosts in Bogotá, Colombia. Revista Colombiana de Ciencias Pecuarias. 

Human health is paramount in developing nations, but diseases that attack humans can hinder conservation efforts as well. The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk published about a mammalian parasite that can affect lung function in top freshwater predators like giant river otters and jaguars, but also could affect aquatic populations of snails and crustaceans.

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Vocalizations of North American River Otters (Lontra canadensis)

Walkley S. 2018. Vocalizations of North American River Otters (Lontra canadensis) in Two Human Care Populations. Master's Thesis. University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS.

Since there is a shortage of information regarding the vocal repertoire of North American river otters (Lontra canadensis), aquarium researchers studied video and audio recordings of two populations of North American river otters in human care to broaden the known vocal repertoire of river otters in various social contexts. This study is the first to examine the vocalizations produced in a male-male pair of river otters. Squeaks and whines were present during agonistic behaviors while chirps were produced during non-agonistic behaviors including investigating, standing still, and grooming. Results support that behavior likely plays a role in the type of calls produced by river otters in human care.

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