Marine Fisheries Research – Juvenile Lobster Habitat

Juvenile lobster habitat has been identified in Pleasant Bay, an estuarine system bordered by several Cape Cod towns.

Using lobster settlement collectors provided by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and deployed with support from the Friends of Pleasant Bay and Ames Marine, CCS Marine Fisheries Research director Owen Nichols and Friends of Pleasant Bay’s Charlie Beggs measured the number of tiny young-of-the-year lobsters that settled on the bottom over the summer, indicating that the Bay may be an important nursery ground.

1: Lobster settlement collector ready for deployment in early summer. The rocks inside create habitat in which postlarval lobsters hide as they ‘settle’ out of the plankton and a fine mesh liner on the bottom and sides prevents their escape when the collectors are raised to the surface. White PVC pipe contains a temperature sensor.

2: Opening a newly recovered settlement collector.

3: When all of the rocks are removed, lots of animals are left behind to count, measure and release. Researchers counted over 200 cunner (a species of wrasse) in one collector.

4: Bay scallops found growing in a collector.

5: Several juvenile tropical fish were found in the collectors, including this spotfin butterflyfish.

6: A tiny “young-of-the-year” lobster.

7: Juvenile lobster.

Fisheries - Lobster nursery composite