Stalking the Invasive Green Crab in Harpswell Sound

Aidan Short ’15 is unusually familiar with the invasive green crabs in Harpswell Sound: specifically, with the contents of their stomachs.

Stalking the Invasive Green Crab from Bowdoin College on Vimeo.

The green crab has a reputation for devouring soft-shell clams, the species behind one of Maine’s most lucrative fisheries. But how much of the crab’s diet is really made up of clams? What other creatures are falling prey to this clawed invader? And how does all of that vary by habitat? These are some questions that Short is exploring through his research project “What’s for Dinner? A molecular analysis of the feeding habits of the green crab Carcinus maenas in Harpswell Sound.”

Short has been working on the water and in the lab, using a combination of crab trapping, dissection, and molecular techniques to figure out just what these crabs are swallowing – not a task for the faint of stomach. Funded this summer by a Doherty Coastal Studies Research Fellowship, Short will continue his research as part of a year-long honors project in collaboration with biology assistant professor David Carlon, who directs Bowdoin’s Coastal Studies Center.


  1. chuck dyer '59 says:

    A very interesting short video!

  2. Jack Flynn says:

    I hope that we hear (and see!) more as Aidan’s research progresses. Green crabs are the root of all evil, according to clammers in Harpswell.

  3. Marie Coburn says:

    Thanks for posting the video. I particularly enjoyed seeing Aidan at work and getting a sense of how he is spending the summer. Very interesting work.

  4. Jef Boeke says:

    This is an awesome study combining field work with one of the latest hot molecular techniques – metagenomics. I am very impressed with the design of the study. Also delighted to see one of the sites is Widgeon Cove!

  5. David Macomber says:

    This summer at Prince’s Point, there were no air boats to wake me up at 5 AM. It was a blessing in the sense that I could sleep in a bit more, but also a curse in that many hard working people are in grave danger of losing their livelihoods. If this doesn’t wake people up to the dangers of climate change and global warming, nothing will.

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