Kelsey Meyer, PhD Candidate

Studying the impact of invasive green crabs on shellfish in Great Bay Estuary
Kelsey Meyer holding green crab

Kelsey Meyer is a doctoral student in COLSA’s biological sciences: marine biology Ph.D. program. She currently spends a lot of time traversing Great Bay in a small boat, collecting invasive green crabs, baiting traps and monitoring tiles for oyster spat. When she’s not on the water or in the lab, she spends time hiking, surfing and playing with her dog Bailey.

COLSA: How would you explain your discipline and/or research to a non-scientist?

Kelsey Meyer: I'm currently studying the abundance, distribution and diet of green crabs in the Great Bay Estuary (GBE). Green crabs are invasive species, now unfortunately naturalized, that are potentially wreaking havoc on the shellfish industry. I'm currently collecting data to gain a better understanding of where they are, when they are there, what are they’re eating and how they interact with oyster farms.

COLSA: What do you wish your colleagues/friends/family knew about your work?

Kelsey: Green crabs are edible, so eat up!

COLSA: Why is your research important?

Kelsey: Understanding the abundance, distribution, and diet of green crabs (specifically highlighting oyster DNA and tunicate DNA, another invasive species that affects space for oyster spat to settle) would give us current data and important information for oyster farmers and biologists since green crabs can affect many species and consequently GBE dynamics.

Green crabs in trap
COLSA: Have you learned/discovered anything during your research that’s surprised you? If so, what?

Kelsey: One thing that surprised me was that I caught mostly male green crabs. I probably have collected about 2,000+ male green crabs [in the Great Bay estuary] but only maybe 100 female green crabs.

COLSA: What do you consider your biggest challenge?

Kelsey: I'm very much a hands-on and "go" type of person. I would say learning how to step-back and look at the bigger picture is something that has been challenging for me but rewarding in the end!

COLSA: What drives you?

Kelsey: I want to do important work that could benefit the New Hampshire oyster farmers. Oysters are important ecologically and economically. The farmers work hard to provide a delicious, sustainable and local product, so I want to do research that could help their farms.

COLSA: What are you most proud of?

Kelsey: One thing I'm most proud of is being part of the NH Shellfish Farmers Initiative. The NH Shellfish Farmers Initiative seeks to raise awareness of New Hampshire grown shellfish, an environmentally sustainable industry. This is achieved through advocacy, education and public awareness. I really enjoy working alongside with the NH Oyster Farmers and really excited about our first ever NH Oyster week and hope it becomes an annual event.

COLSA: Why did you choose UNH?

Kelsey: UNH had everything I was looking for in terms of their marine biology program, a great mentor like Dr. Bonnie Brown, and research facilities, while being an open-mined and inclusive school.

COLSA: What do you plan to do with your degree?

Kelsey: I would love to continue with research and work for an organization like NH Sea Grant or Gulf of Maine Marine Institute.

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