Understanding the biology of two commercially important crustaceans in relation to fisheries and anthropogenic impacts
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The edible crab, Cancer pagurus and the European lobster, Homarus gammarus, are two commercially and ecologically important species found throughout Western Europe. Despite their importance there remains large knowledge gaps about both species, particularly around the effects of recent anthropogenic marine stressors such as unavoidable electromagnetic field (EMF) emissions from Marine Renewable Energy Devices (MREDs). Given the life history of C. pagurus and H. gammarus there is a high likelihood that they will come in to contact with MREDs and their associated power cables. To fully assess the potential impacts of EMF on C. pagurus and H. gammarus several factors were assessed including (1) behavioural aspects such as attraction/avoidance, activity level, and antennular flicking rate, (2) physiological aspects using commonly utilised crustacean stress markers, and (3) developmental aspects via examination of egg development, egg and larval morphology, and larval locomotory ability. Results were compared to two separate studies conducted to expand the knowledge on baseline stress markers for each species. Results confirm that EMF exposure negatively impacts both species on a behavioural, physiological and developmental level with far reaching implications. Results are discussed collectively and implications for management and future research suggested.