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.
- Scientific survey shows highest-ever level of spawning-age female crabs (April 2017) VIMS' 2017 winter dredge survey shows a 31% increase in adult female crabs and forecasts another year of improved harvests.
- Report: derelict crab pots have impacts throughout Bay (October 2016) Study shows that effort to remove derelict crab pots from Chesapeake Bay generated more than $33 million in harvest value for Maryland and Virginia crabbers.
- Scientific survey shows solid blue crab stock improvement (April 2016) VIMS' 2016 winter dredge survey shows another year of growth in the blue crab stock and forecasts an improved harvest in 2016.
- Removal of derelict fishing gear has major economic impact (January 2016) VIMS study shows that effort to remove derelict crab pots from Chesapeake Bay generated more than $20 million in harvest value for area watermen.
- 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.
- Blue crabs more tolerant of low oxygen than previously thought (September 2015) Findings of VIMS investigation contradict earlier studies, thus helping to explain what had been somewhat of an ecological mystery.
- 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.
Advisory Service Reports
Five Most Recent Journal Articles
- Gaylor, M.O., E. Harvey, and R.C. Hale, 2015. Systematic Investigation of Factors Controlling Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE) of Spiked and Aged PCBs from Edible Tissues of the Blue Crab (Callinectes sapidus). Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 94(1): p. 23-28. http://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-014-1380-9
- Ralph, G.M. and R.N. Lipcius, 2014. Critical Habitats and Stock Assessment: Age-Specific Bias in the Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Population Survey. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 143(4): p. 889-898. http://doi.org10.1080/00028487.2014.901247
- Cordero, M.L.H. and R.D. Seitz, 2014. Structured habitat provides a refuge from blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, predation for the bay scallop, Argopecten irradians concentricus (Say 1822). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 460: p. 100-108. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2014.06.012
- Butler, M.J., et al., 2014. Effects of the parasitic dinoflagellate Hematodinium perezi on blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) behavior and predation. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 461: p. 381-388. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2014.09.008
- Small, H.J., et al., 2013. Discovery of an opportunistic starfish pathogen, Orchitophrya stellarum, in captive blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus. Journal of invertebrate pathology, 114(2): p. 178-185. http://doi.org10.1016/J.Jip.2013.07.00