PRIOR FIELD DAYS"
2009 Horseshoe Crab Field Days
at Sandy Point State Park
Tuesday, May 12
Thursday, May 14
Tuesday, May 19
Tuesday, May 21
Sessions will typically include:
Students conduct an investigation of the physical adaptations of shorebirds to their natural environment.
Using a variety of materials representing avian adaptations, the students will transform some of their
fellow students into shorebirds.
Horseshoe Crab Anatomy & Life History
DNR educators use live adult Horseshoe Crabs to review their anatomy and
interesting life history with the students.
Horseshoe Crab Blood and its Biomedical Uses
Students learn about how the medical industry uses the blood of horseshoe crabs. A biomedical scientist
discusses the discovery of important medical products derived from horseshoe crab blood. Also, students
examine horseshoe crab blood and the medical products produced from it.
Simulated Horseshoe Crab Beach Survey
Each year hundreds of scientists and volunteers survey spawning horseshoe crabs. Students will perform a
simulated survey on the beach estimating the current spawning population and how it changes over time.
Horseshoe Crab Fishery Management
DNR Biologists lead a discussion on the management of horseshoe crabs in the mid-Atlantic. Students will
view techniques DNR uses to tag Horseshoe Crabs and learn about the influence people have on horseshoe
crab habitat. At the end of the activity the students will release 1-2 tagged Horseshoe Crabs into the
Horseshoe Crab Timeline
Students will learn about the history of horseshoe crabs using at timeline activity on the beach. The
activity focuses on recent history involving the interaction between horseshoe crabs and people.
Students look at the diversity of aquatic organisms at the near shore environment. Using a beach seine,
DNR or park staff collect marine organisms, identify them and discuss their role in the ecology of the
In the end, students will come away with a better understanding of horseshoe crabs and the important
issues surrounding them. And they will have a sense of accomplishment in helping to maintain a healthy
horseshoe crab population in Maryland.