Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Blue Crabs @ VIMS

The blue crab Callinectes sapidus has played a central role in the ecology, economy, and culture of Chesapeake Bay since the colonial era. Researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) study all aspects of this species—including its ecology, physiology, and population dynamics—with an eye to conservation and a sustainable fishery.

Top Stories

Scientific survey shows modest improvement in blue crab stock (April 2015) Winter dredge survey shows that overall blue crab abundance is up, juvenile crabs are more numerous, and spawning-age females increase but remain at low levels.

One crab, two crab, red crab, new crab (March 2015) Chefs from across Hampton Roads visited the Virginia Institute of Marine Science last week for a daylong symposium designed to introduce a new player in the local seafood game—the red crab.

Summer brings crab feasts—and concerns for Chesapeake blue crabs (June 2014)
NSF-funded research at VIMS shows that infectious diseases play a part in decline of crab population.

Research shows denser seagrass beds hold more baby blue crabs (September 2013)
Study is first to link habitat quality and juvenile-crab density over large areas.

Scientific survey shows dip in blue crab population (April 2013)
Number of spawning-age females up, but poor reproduction means fewer crabs overall.

More stories...

Advisory Service Reports

Access the annual Blue Crab Advisory Report:
2014 | 20132012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

Five Most Recent Journal Articles
  1. Lohan, K. M. P., H. J. Small, et al. 2013. Conservation in the first internal transcribed spacer (ITS1) region of Hematodinium perezi (genotype III) from Callinectes sapidus. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 103(1): 65-75. doi 10.3354/Dao02559
  2. Ralph, G. M., R. D. Seitz, et al. 2013. Broad-scale association between seagrass cover and juvenile blue crab density in Chesapeake Bay. Marine Ecology Progress Series 488: 51-63. doi 10.3354/Meps10417
  3. Small, H. J., T. L. Miller, et al. 2013. Discovery of an opportunistic starfish pathogen, Orchitophrya stellarum, in captive blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 114(2): 178-185. doi 10.1016/J.Jip.2013.07.008
  4. Coffey, A. H., C. W. Li, et al. 2012. The Effect of Salinity on Experimental Infections of a Hematodinium Sp in Blue Crabs, Callinectes sapidus. Journal of Parasitology 98(3): 536-542. doi 10.1645/Ge-2971.1
  5. Johnston, C. A. and R. N. Lipcius 2012. Exotic macroalga Gracilaria vermiculophylla provides superior nursery habitat for native blue crab in Chesapeake Bay. Marine Ecology-Progress Series 467: 137-146. doi 10.3354/Meps09935

Read a full list of VIMS-authored journal articles related to blue crabs.