Maritime Museum Seeks Volunteers to tag horseshoe crabs
NORWALK – It may not occur with the passion of Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr, but the spring moons soon will be drawing male and female horseshoe crabs up onto our beaches for an annual mating ritual.
Staff from The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk will be on hand to greet them. But your help is needed.
The Maritime Aquarium is seeking volunteers to help attach census tags to horseshoe crabs as the crabs come up out of the water to spawn at Calf Pasture Beach. It’s all part of a census of horseshoe crabs in Long Island Sound, being led by Dr. Jennifer Mattei of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. The Maritime Aquarium is assisting with the census and tagging.
Dr. Mattei’s census is establishing a baseline crab population and will reveal horseshoe crab migrations and any changes in numbers or behaviors. The data is needed because horseshoe crab eggs are an important food source for migrating shorebirds. If the horseshoe crab population declined, that could mean fewer birds on our coastline.
Horseshoe crabs come up onto beaches on the nights of the full and new moons. That’s a tagging bonanza time for researchers, so extra volunteers are needed to help.
To participate, volunteers should attend one of two training sessions at the Aquarium: at 7 p.m. on either Wed., May 8 or Sun., May 12. They’ll learn about the natural history of horseshoe crabs, what has been learned so far from the census work, and how to safely tag horseshoe crabs. Volunteers should be in 10th grade or older. Younger children can assist if working with a parent, teacher or guardian.
Tagging sessions at Calf Pasture will be held on selected mornings and evenings later in the month of May and also in June.
To sign up or for more details about the training sessions, call The Maritime Aquarium at (203) 852-0700, ext. 2352, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.