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Identifying the distribution of and interactions between range-expanding species and American lobsters


The American lobster industry is one of the most valuable fisheries in the United States and it accounts for a large proportion of the economic value of fisheries landed in the Gulf of Maine. Unfortunately, the lobster fishery is being impacted by the effects of climate change.

One possible secondary effect of climate change is range expansion by potential lobster predators and competitors, such as black sea bass and blue crab, into southern New England and the warming waters of the Gulf of Maine.

How will novel species occupy their new ranges and how will they interact with native species, especially American lobster?

This project addresses two management needs identified by the Wells Reserve: Understanding invasive species interactions and working toward healthy and sustainable fisheries in the Gulf of Maine.

Principal Investigator

Resource Management Questions and Objectives

Are range-expanding species overlapping with American lobster in the Gulf of Maine?

  • Identify the distribution, abundance, and habitat characteristics of range-expanding species that are potential lobster predators and competitors

What are the interactions between the American lobster and range-expanding species?

  • Examine predator-prey and competitive interactions between range-expanding species and American lobster


  • Maps indicating range-expanding species prevalence and potential overlap with American lobster throughout the Gulf of Maine
  • Video recordings from tank experiments indicating potential predator/competitor interactions between range-expanding species and American lobster


  • NOAA Margaret A. Davidson Fellowship 2022-2024
  • Sea Grant American Lobster Initiative

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