Where Have all the Mussels Gone?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 by Katie

A couple of weeks ago I was at the beach and walking along the rocks where we used to collect a small amount of mussels to feed our resident lobsters. In the past years we had noticed fewer and fewer blue mussels attached to the rocks. This last visit though, there were no mussels to be seen. Meredyth and I wondered if there were just less mussels at this one location, or if this was the same trend in other places along the coast of Maine.

Unfortunately the decrease in blue mussel population is happening all along the coast of Maine and New England. The Portland Press Herald just wrote an article about it: Mussel population loses strength in the Gulf of Maine.

Researchers hypothesize that there are multiple factors leading to the decrease in population. These factors include: warming ocean water, increased harvesting, and invasive species (such as the green crab). Scientists need more data and are investigating about the blue mussel population and how it is affected by increasing water temperature and harvesting.

Have you noticed a trend of more or less of a plant/animal in a place that you visit often? 

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