The determination of larval trajectories of crab species is an important factor in understanding population dynamics and migration patterns of these organisms. In a study conducted by Cecily C. Natunewicz, Charles E. Epifanio, and Richard W. Garvine, three researchers from the University of Delaware, satellite-tracking devices were used to examine larval transport patterns of the blue crab (Callinectes sapidusemploys) in the Delaware Bay. The researchers tagged eight larval patches and followed their movement for 1 to 11 days.
To assess the crab’s larval trajectories, they took this data, along with physical data on winds and river discharge, and compared it to predicted trajectories from a 2-D mathematical model. They discovered that larval patches initially tagged in the bay’s plume water moved farther south than patches in shelf water. The main factor driving this movement was wind patterns. Thus, the determination of the blue crab’s larval trajectories shows that applying this method to the Chinese mitten crab may also be successful.
Natunewicz et al., 2001 C.C. Natunewicz, R.W. Garvine and C.E. Epifanio, Transport of crab larvae patches in the coastal ocean, Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 222 (2001), pp. 143–154.