Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Jeffrey Rice, Florida Gulf Coast University

Class Year: 

Project Title: 

Determination of the Mineral Composition of Blue Crab (Callinectes sapidus) Carapace: Assessment of Spatial Variability and Response to Acidification in the Patuxent River, Chesapeake Bay


The goal of the experiment was to determine the mineral composition of the blue crab carapace, specifically calcium, magnesium, and strontium. These concentrations were determined spatially, after acidification, and ontogenetically. Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) percentage was also determined as it is the main constituent of the blue crab carapace. Results showed that the concentration of CaCO3 was 30% less than previous values reported in the literature. It was also determined that there is a significant difference in calcium concentrations in the carapace between juveniles and adults. No significant difference was observed in the concentrations of calcium and strontium in the carapace of crabs between different rivers in the Chesapeake Bay. As of now the acidification data set is incomplete but early numbers show no significant difference between calcium and strontium in the treatments.