The Hudson River animals on display at The River Project on Pier 40 in Manhattan are caught in traps that hang off of the steamship Lilac at nearby Pier 25. Here, River Project wet lab manager Nina Zain and her assistant Jackie Wu check the traps and find some new creatures for The River Project tanks.
Chris Anderson from The River Project discussing the past, present, and future of wild oysters in the Hudson River and NY Harbor with Carol Off on "As It Happens" on CBC and NPR Radio.
An underwater video of lined seahorses (Hippocampus erectus) and northern pipefish (Syngnathus fuscus) hunting for tiny invertebrates called amphipods (Gammarus sp.) in the The River Project's flow-through aquarium.
Pier 42 Video:
In this video two Blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, can be seen mating. Blue crabs in this position are referred to as doublers. Leading up to mating (referred to as precopulatory activities), the female will molt or shed her shell leaving her extremely vulnerable to predation. During this period the male will cradle her with his walking legs protecting her from predators while her shell is soft. When the female’s molting is complete the male will turn her over so that their abdomens can touch, commencing copulation. After mating, the male will continue to carry the female until her shell hardens. This can last from two to seven days.
In this video, a male Blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, can be seen attempting to escape from the diver. After first attempting to freeze and remain unseen the crab sets off. In the middle of the video the crab poses aggressively, raising and opening one of its claws as a warning before hiding behind a piling. In addition to the crab activity red algae can be seen along the bottom throughout the video. This algae is probably of the genus Ceramium but which species is unknown. Its striped branches when viewed under a microscope can identify this genus, which is mostly filled with intertidal species that grow on rocks and other debris and is very common to the estuary. Our specific species of Ceramium spp. is mostly subtidal. It can be found most commonly on old rubble or pilings but the species within the genus are known to grow on many different substrates.
In this video, a school of Atlantic silversides (Menidia menidia) can be seen swimming in the piling field along with what appears to be a small juevenille Striped bass (Morone saxatillis). The fish swim near the rubble at the bottom of the river; most likely fallen concrete pier structures. With so much of New York’s shoreline modified from its natural state the rubble can act as habitat for fish and other organisms including red algae, numerous species of fish and invertebrates. One invertebrate, Eastern oysters, Crassostrea virginica, was once a keystone species in New York but its population plummeted by the early 1900’s due to overfishing and pollution. However small populations do remain like the small group roughly 1 min 25 seconds into the video.
In the video, a school of Atlantic silversides (Menidia menidia) can be seen swimming around a piling. The Silverside is an extremely important food source for larger predatory fish and is found in high abundance throughout the western Atlantic. It is common in the lower Hudson River and the Long Island Sound. The Atlantic silverside is a small fish, with adult’s length rarely exceeding six inches. It can be easily identified by its lower metallic silver stripe and dorsal green to yellow stripe with a darker band in between the two. Atlantic silversides feed in schools and are opportunistic omnivores. They will often follow the tides movements along feeding grounds.
Pier 26 Video:
Aquatic macro algae, invertebrates, and other aquatic organisms use submerged wooden pilings for habitat. Notice several types of tunicate, algae and barnacles dominating the surface of the structure. several types of algae, tunicates, and barnacles dominating the surface of the structure.
A school of Silversides, Menidia menidia: this small fish travels in large numbers and is a major food for predators like Striped bass, Morone saxatilis, and Bluefish, Pomatomus saltatrix.
The soft bottom sediments of the Lower Hudson River is host to many benthic animals including polychaete worms, gammarus shrimp, the eastern mud snail, Ilyanassa obsolete.
Until the early 1900's the Eastern Oyster, Crassostrea virginica, covered many square miles of New York Harbor with oyster reefs. Due to pollution and over-harvesting, these reefs disappeared. More recently, as Hudson waters become cleaner, small populations of oysters are beginning to spring up. Two young oysters can be seen here.