Rider Researchers Make New Jersey Coast their Classroom

As part of a paid internship at Rider, students examine population characteristics, movements and reproduction of crabs in Barnegat Bay.
Meaghan Haugh
Rider Researchers Make New Jersey Coast their Classroom

Student interns work with Dr. Paul Jivoff to research the population and migration blue crabs in Barnegat Bay.

This summer, as part of a paid internship, four students worked alongside Dr. Paul Jivoff, associate professor of Biology and Behavioral Neuroscience, to examine population characteristics, movements and reproduction of blue crabs in Barnegat Bay.

The research, funded by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection as part of Gov. Chris Christie’s 10-Point Barnegat Bay Restoration Plan, involves two projects. The first, which received grant support totaling $233,297, is a collaboration between Rider and the Rutgers University Marine Field Station. The research focuses on fish and crab responses to urbanization around Barnegat Bay. The second project, which received support totaling $55,865 to Jivoff, involves an ecological assessment of the Sedge Island Marine Conservation Zone.

For the human urbanization project, the Rider group used baited traps to collect crabs throughout the Bay each day for one week per month from May through August. They examined the crabs to determine their width, sex, age, sexual maturity, molt stage, and any loss and regeneration of limbs. On a recent field visit, students tagged and released crabs with a reward for recapture information in order to assess adult blue crab movement in the Bay. See the photo gallery to the right.

The students will continue working in Jivoff’s lab this fall, dissecting crabs collected from the Bay in order to compile more data for the research. The students include Julie McCarthy ’13, a Marine Sciences major, Jade Kels ’14, an Environmental Sciences major, Amanda Young ’13, a Marine Sciences major, and Laura Moritzen ’15, a Marine Sciences major.

Jivoff’s research interests include behavioral ecology of marine animals with an emphasis on blue crab biology. To learn more, visit his Faculty page.