Horseshoe Crab Tagging by Cameron Jenness
We are excited to be a part of the New York Horseshoe crab monitoring network for the 2017 tagging season organized by the Cornell University Cooperative Extension’s Marine Program with assistance from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Since the 1970s, the Horseshoe crab population has been decreasing in some areas, though not presently endangered, harvesting and habitat destruction have reduced its numbers at some locations and caused some concern for this animal’s future.
The goal of this project to understand more about the horseshoe crabs’ life cycle their population around Long Island Sound. Some scientists hypothesize that water temperature is a main triggering factor in telling the animals when to start the mating process. So, with the cold water and air temperatures we saw this spring no one really knew what to expect and scientists were interested it how abundant the crabs would be when they arrived for the spawning season.
Since May 8th volunteers for the study have been going out during the evening high tides, that correlate the new and full moons. So far, the study is very close to the numbers observed last year and hopefully they stay congruent. The WaterFront Center has had 10 volunteers help over 6 nights. We have counted over 400 crabs and were able to measure and tag 60 crabs. We hope that the tagged ones will be found again to increase the data that we are collecting.
There are at most nine more nights of tagging left in the season and we need as many volunteers as possible for our efforts to be successful. If you are interested in assisting the study, please contact our Education Director, Cameron Jenness.