DV-17-18 Growth and physiological sensitivity of early stage Gulf of Maine crustaceans in response to ocean warming

David Fields
Senior Research Scientist
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
East Boothbay, ME

Temperature is the primary factor that determines survival and development in newly hatched crustaceans such as lobster. The ability of these early stages to develop in the face of increasingly warm ocean conditions will determine what species are able to maintain populations in the Gulf of Maine over the course of the next century.

In this comparative study, an undergraduate student working with Fields assessed the effect of temperature on the larval growth and metabolism of lobster and the invasive green crab. Using egg-bearing lobsters and crabs from the Damariscotta River brought into the laboratory, Devin Domeyer measured growth of larvae and oxygen consumption rates under different temperature conditions. Biological end points included growth, carbon content, respiration and feeding rates. The results suggest that larval green crab have greater tolerance to predicted “end of century” temperatures than lobster larvae.

Sea Grant funds: $4,300