(Sandy Hook) ... Working this summer with Dr. Peter Rowe, New Jersey Sea Grant’s Director of Research and Extension, students Tessa Vande Creek, Jane Bikker and Caitlin Loh, from the Marine Academy of Science and Technology students (MAST) participated in the second year of a horseshoe crab culturing project. The students collected fertilized eggs in early June from Horseshoe Cove at
The students modified their approach based on last year’s results. This year, one of the main focuses of the project was food concentration. They chose to use dry pellet food, which provided the baby horseshoe crabs a complete nonmonotypic diet. To prevent temperature spikes which were a major issue last year, the project was moved into the
While the culturing process is somewhat clear-cut, the procedures required an enormous attention to detail. This included keeping track of the mortality rate, counting molt cycles and keeping the horseshoe crab’s aquatic environment clean. The students dedicated countless hours diligently caring for the horseshoe crabs. On August 26, the surviving population of horseshoe crabs was released back into Sandy Hook Bay where they will hopefully begin their journey towards maturation.
The overall mortality rate was higher than the students would have liked but that’s a vital part of the course of research. According to Dr. Rowe, the main purpose of the project is to help the students expand their scientific awareness through utilizing the scientific process.