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Blue crab genome project

Colleen Burge, Institute of Marine & Environmental Technology, UMBC
Sook Chung, Institute of Marine & Environmental Technology, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Tsvetan Bachvaroff, Institute of Marine & Environmental Technology, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

The blue crab, Callinectes sapidus has a complicated life cycle undergoing periodic molting process in their life cycle (27-29 times from hatching to adult). The population structure of the blue crab in the Chesapeake Bay is dynamic and primarily maintained by two migrations that are opposite directions in geography and salinity gradient. This migration history clearly demonstrates that animals inhabiting the Bay area have been experiencing various environmental conditions and that they have acquired the physiological capacity to successfully acclimate and adapt to constantly fluctuating environmental conditions.
The blue crab, once one of the dominant and successful marine species in the Chesapeake Bay area, has been declined > 70% over the last decade largely due to the changes in environmental conditions including destruction of natural habitats, poor-water quality by hypoxia and anoxia and anthropogenic influences, diseases and over-fishing.
The blue crab genomic data will provide a better understanding of adaptive capacity and adaptive pathways of the blue crab and their grow mechanisms. Furthermore, gaining genomic information will shed light on population structure and genetic diversity of this species, which will help to develop a better management strategy for sustainability.