Since 1991, The Wetlands Institute has brought scientists and volunteers together to conduct surveys of horseshoe crabs spawning on New Jersey’s Delaware Bay beaches. These surveys take place during full and new moon phases during the months of May and June at the height of the spawning season. During this time, thousands of crabs crawl onto Delaware Bay beaches to lay their eggs in nests along the shoreline’s high tide line. These horseshoe crab spawning surveys are coordinated with other groups in New Jersey and Delaware so that they are standardized and take place on the same dates and tides. By taking repeated counts of horseshoe crabs spawning on Delaware Bay beaches, scientists are able to gain insight to the Delaware Bay’s horseshoe crab population status and trends.
Interested in Joining us for a Horseshoe Crab Spawning Survey?
We offer the opportunity for you to join Institute scientists on a 2 km walk along New Jersey’s Delaware Bay beaches to count horseshoe crabs. This activity lasts approximately 3 hours and is ideal for all age groups. Group sizes are limited, and advanced registration is required. Please take time to review our instructions below on how to sign up and what to expect for this event.
2019 Spawning Survey Dates:
Thursday, May 2
Saturday, May 4
Thursday, May 16
Saturday, June 1
Monday, June 3
Saturday, June 15
Monday, June 17
How to sign up for a spawning survey
To sign-up for a spawning survey, please click on the link provided below. Please input your FIRST NAME in the white space and check off the date you wish to participate. If you have more than 1 person in your group you MUST fill in a separate entry for each member of your group. Fourteen individuals maximum are allowed to attend each survey. Due to the demand of this program, we ask that individuals participate in ONE survey night per season. After adding in your name and chosen date, click save. You will be asked to provide your email address and phone number. This contact information will only be visible to The Wetlands Institute staff. Phone numbers are needed in case of cancellation for severe weather events.
What to Expect
Prior to the survey date, you will receive an email (at the address provided when you registered) that provides the meeting time and directions to our survey start location on the Villas beach. Before the survey starts, you’ll learn about the natural history of horseshoe crabs, the Delaware Bay survey, and survey methodology. The survey will take place on the beach along the waterline. The survey will cover 1 km of beach (walked in both directions, so 2 km of walking) and will take approximately 3 hours start to finish. Volunteers should be prepared with:
✔ weather appropriate clothing
✔ closed toe shoes or knee boots (no flip flops!) that can get wet
✔ a flashlights or headlamp
✔ protection from biting insects is encouraged
For questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.