Today we’re celebrating 12 years of outstanding service by the Reserve’s Conservationist, Wes Conley who is starting on a new adventure – retirement! He’s been an invaluable resource to the Reserve and provided outstanding technical assistance and leadership in getting things done on the ground at the St Jones Reserve and Blackbird Creek Reserve. His work ethic and dedication have brought great credit upon himself and the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve. It has been amazing working with you Wes!
The effect of climate change is expected to raise the temperature of Southern New England waters by up to 40°F (4.5 °C) in this century. This may result in northward expansion of the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) range as well as its pathogens (an agent that causes disease such as a virus or bacteria). The Delaware Bay is the northern limit for commercial harvest of blue crab, though substantial populations extend into Massachusetts and support a recreational fishery. The University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Science and the University of Delaware are beginning a student project to assess the prevalence of two fatal pathogens of blue crab, a reovirus and a protozoan parasite, in the northern range from the Delaware Bay to the southern shore of Massachusetts. This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) funded project is intended to serve as a template for long-term studies of the effects of climate change and latitude on blue crab disease prevalence in the Northeastern United States.
The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve is assisting with the project by providing equipment, technical assistance, and training. Other collections (single sites, annual collections) are being provided by partners affiliated with the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve in New Jersey, NOAA Milford Lab, and Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.
(The NOAA-LMRCSC competition is led by the Univ. of MD Eastern Shore, Paulinus Chigbu, PI; UMCES-IMET PI is Rosemary Jagus).
“Tracking pathogens of blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) along a climatological and latitudinal gradient” PI: Eric J Schott, UMCES-Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology; Co-PI: Dennis McIntosh, Delaware State University. Outreach; NOAA collaborator: Gretchen Messick, NCCOS, Oxford Cooperative Lab.