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Centre for

Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology

From the shoreline to the deep ocean, tackling issues from pure ecology
and physiology to aquaculture, marine spatial planning and conservation.

Kevin Scott

Kevin 2

Kevin's project: Understanding the biology of Cancer pagurus in relation to fisheries and human impact

Cancer pagurus, commonly known as the European Edible crab or Brown crab, is an important crustacean to the global fishing industry and is one of the most important commercial species in the UK.  I 2012 10,900 tonnes were landed into Scotland by UK boats worth £13.2million.  Despite their importance there are still large gaps in our understanding of their biology and ecology.

Recent studies have shown that mature female edible crabs have specific chosen sites for egg laying and undergo annual migrations along specific routes for larval dispersal.  This information will be used with behavioural ecology work to determine of these areas could be at risk  from future offshore and inshore developments and to try to obtain a better understanding of the larval stage of this species to to aid in management schemes and fisheries data.

Information on the effect of both fisheries and other human impacts on this species is scarce.  This work hopes to provide a clearer picture on what effect these different factors are having on a behavioural and physiological level to this important species and its life-cycle.

Project's main objectives:

  1. Conduct experimental exposures to determine the effects of electromagnetic fields, underwater noise and various environmental conditions on the different life stages of the edible crab.
  2. Gain an understanding of population dynamics and map migration patterns to aid in fisheries data and to determine if these sites are at risk by current/future offshore renewables.
  3. To further our understanding of different behaviours, including mating and competition, and diseases that affect this species.

Research will be undeertaken at both St Abbs Marine Station and Heriot-Watt University.



Dr Alastair Lyndon

Dr Dan Harries



Nesbitt-Cleland Trust



Location: St Abbs Marine Station, St Abbs, Berwichshire, TD14 5QF