The blue crab Callinectes sapidus supports one of the largest fisheries in Chesapeake Bay. Given the economic importance of the crab, surprisingly little is known about its pathogens and diseases. The Disease Ecology Laboratory has focused on the epidemiology, ecology, and pathophysiology of the pathogens of blue crabs. Currently the laboratory is investigating the ecological impacts of Hematodinium infections in blue crabs from the Eastern Shore. While the lab is primarily engaged with Hematodinium, other diseases are also under investigation.
The Crustacean Diseases Laboratory has been investigating the environmental and host-driven factors that contribute to the fulmination of the epizootics. Current support from NOAA's Saltonstall-Kennedy Program focuses on addressing host mortality through injection, transmission, and survivorship studies. These studies include the examination of selected physiological parameters as indicators of the general state of the diseased crabs and lobsters.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Jeffrey Shields