SICB Division of Ecology and Evolution (DEE)

DEE Researchers Database Entry

Ecological studies of Hackensack Meadowlands
In the lab of Dr. Judith Weis of Rutgers University in Newark, diverse studies are ongoing that come under the general category of responses of estuarine organisms to stresses. Much of the work is focused on the Hackensack Meadowlands, a large, highly urbanized and contaminated estuary nearby. We have been involved in studying responses of estuarine animals to the invasive reed, Phragmites australis, that dominates the ecosystem, and comparing how this plant species and Spartina alterniflora deal with metals in the environment. We are also examining behavioral ecology of blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) and fiddler crabs (Uca pugnax) from the contaminated Meadowlands and comparing them with crabs from a cleaner site, and examining the diet and reproductive health of white perch (Morone americana)from the Meadowlands and elsewhere. Another study is examining the abundance and diversity of parasites in killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) from various sites with different salinity and contamination levels. We are also examining trophic transfer of contaminants to young-of-the year bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), and effects of invasive crabs (Carcinus maenas and Hemigrapsus sanguineus) on native blue crabs.