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Green Crab Research

As climate change continues to alter the abundance and distribution of invasive species, new strategies will need to be developed to mitigate the resulting ecological and socioeconomic impacts. Manomet’s green crab work aims to develop fisheries and markets that will provide a new source of economic opportunity for fishers and coastal communities. Utilizing an invasive species to diversify fisheries resources may ultimately enhance the future resiliency of New England’s coastal communities, and could serve as a unique example of how to mitigate and adapt to the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of climate-driven change.

Fall Field Guide for the Gulf of Maine

Fall is a time of many changes; on land, it’s hard to ignore the changing color of the leaves and cooling temperatures. While the changes happening underwater may not be as visible, if you look close enough, you’ll see that marine organisms go through their own transitions, too. Several species are currently preparing for the harsh winter conditions of the Gulf of Maine and the changing seasonal cues trigger many different types of behavior. If you find yourself in intertidal and shallow subtidal areas of the coast of New England this season, see if you can spot examples of these seasonal marine phenomena. For most shellfish, the growing season is during the warmer months, when there is more food available...

eDNA Research

Environmental DNA, or eDNA, is a new research and monitoring tool that Manomet uses in our fisheries and shorebirds research. All organisms shed DNA – in the form of scales, gametes, waste products, and more. By analyzing water and sediment samples, we can match DNA found in the samples to that of species of interest, allowing us to learn more about species distribution and population abundance. For our fisheries research, we are focused on river herring and shellfish. The mapping of the human genome was a huge breakthrough less than 20 years ago; now, the process of mapping genomes has become routine and the genomes of thousands of species are available from a federal database. The benefits of eDNA analysis...

Interview with Pete Countway of Bigelow Laboratory

We are partnering with the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences to apply eDNA to our work building sustainable fisheries in the Gulf of Maine. As an adaptation to climate change, harvesters have been shifting their efforts to harvesting quahogs (aka hard shell clams). This species of clam is increasing in abundance (perhaps due to their tolerance of warmer waters and thick shells which protect them from predation) and growing in value as it becomes more common alongside oysters at raw bars and seafood restaurants. In 2018, we supported efforts in Georgetown, Maine to expand the quahog population by transplanting 50,000 adult quahogs with the goal of establishing a self-sustaining population. This summer, we are using eDNA to gauge whether or...

Are invasive green crab populations in the Gulf of Maine rising?

The European green crab (Carcinus maenas) is a harmful invasive species linked to the decline of the soft-shell clam industry in New England and the degradation and loss of critical eelgrass and salt marsh habitat. Compounding these issues is the link between increasing green crab abundance and increasing ocean temperature, which has had severe ecological and socio-economic consequences in areas such as the Gulf of Maine, where warming is occurring faster than 99% of the world's oceans. In 2018, Manomet began our long-term intertidal crab monitoring project to track green crab population trends. We also collect data on native crabs and other invasive species such as the Asian shore crab. Our monitoring sites span much of mid-Coast Maine, from Damariscotta...

Shifting Tides

For nearly a decade, Anne Hayden’s work at Manomet has focused on restoring marine habitats and rebuilding sustainable fisheries. Throughout her career, Anne’s work has focused on planning and management for Maine’s watersheds, building engaging and inspiring educational programs and courses, restoring marine habitats, and rebuilding sustainable fisheries. Through social and natural science, she has worked to understand the dynamics of the marine ecosystem and align economic incentives with environmental stewardship. In addition, she has worked to restore sustainable and resilient fisheries in the Gulf of Maine and strengthen adaptive co-management to promote healthy marine ecosystems and thriving coastal communities. At the end of June 2021, Anne will be retiring from Manomet, leaving behind a long list of accomplishments and...

What’s changing on the mudflats?

Maine’s shellfish flats are very dynamic places changing with the storms and the tides. These flats are also affected by what happens in the watershed; runoff can carry excess nutrients, contaminants, or bacteria and both erosion and shoreline hardening affects the flats. Harvesting also affects the flats, but the biggest human-caused impact on them may be climate change. The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of the rest of the world's oceans, which has led to widespread and rapid impacts on nearshore coastal ecosystems. Some impacts are pretty clear. Invasive green crabs, which thrive in these warming waters, have decimated clams from Maine to Massachusetts. Other impacts are less obvious. Quahogs seem to be doing better in some...

New Tools for Shellfish Management and Restoration

Manomet’s work in the Gulf of Maine strives to support and promote resilient and productive coastal ecosystems and communities. Focusing on ecosystem restoration and fisheries diversification, Manomet’s fisheries team has had a busy winter and is now preparing for the spring field season! In addition to continuing to monitor invasive green crab populations, Manomet’s fisheries team will be expanding their research this spring. Intertidal shellfish harvesting has a long history in New England—and supplies clam shacks and seafood restaurants up and down the coast.  Resource assessments—surveying the abundance and size range of shellfish—have traditionally been used to shed light on how many clams can be removed without harming future harvests. But warming waters, ocean acidification, invasive species, and rising sea...

In gratitude: Part 1

This year, more than ever, we are grateful for the support of so many people, especially those who volunteer their time and talents to support Manomet and our work. Manomet’s nearly 40 staff members working across the Western hemisphere are supported by many who volunteer to contribute to our research, assist in our offices, and help fulfill our mission. Robert Tose, who grew up next door to Manomet’s Holmes Farm, is one of those volunteers. “I have many fond memories of playing in the fields and surrounding area. Last spring, I stopped by to help my uncle, who was maintaining part of the two blueberry orchards on the property. Still, the orchards had become mostly overgrown and could have potentially...

Support for the natural world

With the unequivocal warming of our climate and alarming threats to Earth’s biodiversity, science has never been more important, and neither has your support for Manomet and our work. Donate For more than 50 years, Manomet has been using science to make our world a better, more resilient place. It’s why we’re in the Arctic researching shorebird decline and working with partners throughout the Americas to protect their habitat. It’s why we’ve operated our banding lab since 1969, collecting 50 years of valuable migration data used by scientists around the world. It’s why you’ll find Manomet in Maine’s small towns working to restore fisheries, and in rural communities throughout North America helping to prepare forests for the effects of climate...

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