A hearty bunch of nature lovers gathered in Duxbury on Thursday for Coffee and Crabs. At a lovely reception at the home of Patricia Boynton, Dr. Sara Grady shared her love and knowledge of horseshoe crabs. (She studied them for her Ph.D. at the Boston University Marine Program.)

Sara told everyone about the importance of horseshoe crabs and why we survey them. They do many important things in our beaches and bays, including mix up sediment and add oxygen back into the mudflats. Similarly, their eggs are a crucial food source for migrating shorebirds like red knots and ruddy turnstones. They are also very important to humans, for a compound in their blood used to test for bacterial contamination, for bait in the eel, conch, and whelk fisheries, and for vision research.

After hearing about the horseshoe crabs over coffee and muffins, the group went out to do a survey. Despite the rain and wind, they braved the cold water to add to the survey information. They counted 75 crabs in the designated area, and they even found a male crab that had been tagged four years prior in the same location.

If you are interested in hosting a Coffee and Crabs group (or another topic – Marshes and Muffins, anyone?), contact Gabriela Silva at 781-659-8168.

To help with the Horseshoe Crab surveys, please register here.

To see more photos from Coffee and Crabs, go to our Facebook page.

We are relying on YOU to help us determine where these amazing animals go and how their populations are surviving. Sign up to volunteer or host a group event today!