Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Cell and Molecular Biology
Hiram Dunn - University of Maryland Eastern Shore/University of California Santa Cruz
Co-Author(s): Stephanie Martinez-Rivera and Bradley G. Stevens, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Ann, MD
Jonah crabs, Cancer borealis, have long been considered a bycatch of the lobster industry. Jonah crab harvest is not regulated, there are no fishing size limits, nor restrictions to protect females. The study sampled Jonah crabs from one area in the Maryland-Virginia coastal zone from a local fishing vessel in June and July of 2015. This study is based on examination of the gross anatomy of 49 crabs and on histological preparations from 29 crabs. Ovary development stages were created and ordered based on area of oocytes, color and size of ovary, and the presence of sperm plugs. Four stages were observed but five are identifiable. Size at 50% sexual maturity (SM50), for females, as indicated by vulvar condition and oocyte area, was estimated to be 49.46 mm carapace length (CL). No prior information or study has been published concerning female Jonah crabs. This fishery-independent data is vital to ensure long-term sustainability, and develop appropriate management for this species.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Science Foundation (NSF)
Faculty Advisor: Bradley Stevens,