Maine Public interviews Wahle about baby lobster decline, possible food source

Maine Public spoke with Rick Wahle, a research professor at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center, for the report, “New research shows ‘strong correlation’ between baby lobster decline, possible food source.” Joshua Carloni, a research scientist in New Hampshire’s Fish and Game Division, recently wanted to explore why, at a time when the waters off Maine are brimming with egg-bearing lobsters and very early-stage larvae, there has been a decline in mid-term stages. Carloni had a hunch they might be starving to death and was able to find a correlation between baby lobster decline and the copepod Calanus finmarchicus, according to the article. “There are really very few ‘Aha’ moments in science,” said Wahle, who has been tracking baby lobsters that settle to the seafloor off New England for 30 years. Wahle has shown that the babies’ decline may predict coming declines in the adult lobster harvest, the article states. Carloni’s work on the C. finmarchicus connection, Wahle said, was something of a revelation. “To have one of these moments when you see these correlations and it opens a whole new box of different questions — it’s rather exciting,” he said. Wahle said it’s not a sure bet baby lobsters are dying off due to a lack of C. finmarchicus to munch on. They might be settling in new places, or lobsters and C. finmarchicus might be under pressure from bigger predators, Maine Public reported. Mainebiz cited the Maine Public report in an article on the same topic.