Aidan Short ’15 has an unusual familiarity with the invasive green crabs in Harpswell Sound: specifically, with the contents of their stomachs.

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 their diet 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.

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, director of Bowdoin's Coastal Studies Center.

Video footage by Abby McBride and Catherine Yochum ’15. Underwater photos by David Carlon. Produced by Abby McBride.

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