Through our American Lobster Research Program, we investigate nutritional requirements, brain development and pigmentation in captive-reared American lobsters. We are also collaborating with fishermen and scientists to develop a greater understanding of Lobster Shell Disease.
American lobsters have been successfully reared in hatchery operations for over a century, yet commercially formulated diets were never developed. We are working with our hatchery-reared lobsters to determine nutrition requirement for larval and juvenile lobsters.
We are collaborating with Wellesley University to study the effects that diet can have on cell and neural development in lobster brains. We have determined that omega-3 fatty acids influence neurogenesis, but further research is necessary to understand the significance of this finding.
The color of American lobsters is determined by a single carotenoid pigment, astaxanthin. This pigment is normally red, but in the shell of a lobster binds to protein and turns blue (or binds to more protein and turns yellow). If a lobster does not eat this pigment, then it is not colored. We raise and work with white lobsters to investigate what factors influence pigment development in lobster shells.
Lobster Shell Disease
Caused by a bacterial infection in the carapace, lobster shell disease has become dramatically more common in recent years. We are investigating possible causes behind this increased infection rate, and are looking for solutions.