Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Randolph Chambers and Jeffrey Shields

Committee Members

Jennifer Rahn


Carcinonemertes carcinophila is a nemertean from a genus of symbiotic, decapod-egg predating, marine worms. This species infests the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, an inhabitant of the Western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico waters. The brachyuran host, the mature female blue crab, migrates through estuarine waters during its adult life, rather than being exclusively marine. This study uses microcosm experiments to investigate salinity tolerance and hyposaline stress survival of C. carcinophila, and the implications this information has on the nemertean’s application as a biomarker for spawning history in blue crabs. Generalized linear models (GLMs) and multi-stage models were also used to confirm the positive relationship between salinity and the probability of nemertean presence and infection intensity in a mature female blue crab host. Experimentation confirms 20-30 psu seawater as the ideal salinity range of C. carcinophila and reveals the distinct ability of this species to acclimate to mesohaline conditions as low as 10 psu. This nemertean is also able to withstand oligohaline stress (5 psu) for up to 39 hours. The species’ wide range of salinity tolerance (10 psu) indicates that C. carcinophila has evolved to match the fluctuating environment of its host. In addition to the wide range in salinity tolerance of the species, the ability to withstand hyposaline stress indicates that salinity changes in the blue crab’s natural environment is not a limitation to the reliability of C. carcinophila as a biomarker for spawning history of blue crabs.

Available for download on Sunday, May 05, 2024

On-Campus Access Only