Mission: Green Crab
How are green crab populations changing on the Maine coast over time?
Scientists across the state of Maine and the Northeast are working with local communities to help figure out how widespread green crabs are and what impacts they are having. Scientists think that green crabs prefer warmer waters and that they eat many native species including mussels and softshell clams. What we don’t know is if the recent increase of green crabs in the Gulf of Maine is a fluke…. or if they are here to stay.
- Print the species card for green crab and a coastal survey datasheet.
- Go into the field and collect data to make your claim of FOUND or NOT FOUND
- If you find green crabs, take note of how many you see.
- If you don’t find green crabs, do you see other species of crabs?
- Post your data!
Why this mission matters
While scientists and communities know that green crabs are invasive and disruptive, the long term impacts are still up in the air. Green crabs have been around for a long time, but the recent increase in their numbers is unusual… and worrying. Is this a short term increase, as has been the case in the past, or is the boom in their numbers the beginning of a new norm? If they are here to stay in such high numbers, how will native species respond and adapt?
By helping scientists collect this data, we all have a chance to analyze these questions and investigate the impacts of these invasive crabs!