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Biology of the invasive Chinese mitten crab in the river Thames

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

The Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis, is an invasive brachyuran crab species (one of the top 100 most invasive species) that is now well established in the River Thames and tributaries. This project aims to establish new information on the reproductive biology of the species in the Thames catchment, including female fecundity and possibly larval biology of the species in the Thames estuary (if funds are available). Alternatively the project could focus on the impacts of E. sinensis on native biota through feeding activities and build upon laboratory studies that have shown feeding on native species of mollusc, crustacean and insect larvae as well as feeding on fish eggs of a range of sizes. These studies may incorporate gut analyses, including molecular approaches, in conjunction with more in-depth feeding trials. The project will link to existing collaborative research projects monitoring the spread of the species in the UK (http://mittencrabs.org.uk), looking at net designs for fishing mitten crabs and the effects of mitten crabs on sediment stability, Training will be provided in shore- and boat-based field work; brachyuran crab taxonomy, anatomy and morphometrics; aquarium maintenance of animals and all relevant laboratory techniques. The PhD would be jointly supervised with Dr Paul Clark at the Natural History Museum, London.


Clark, P.F. (2011) The commercial exploitation of the Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis in the River Thames, London: damned if we don’t and damned if we do. pp. 537-580. In: Galil BS, Clark PF, Carlton JD In the Wrong Place - Alien Marine Crustaceans: Distribution, Biology and Impacts, Invading Nature - Springer Series in Invasion Ecology 6, Springer.
Morritt, D., Mills, H., Hind, K., Clifton-Dey, D. & Clark, P.F. (2013) Monitoring downstream migrations of Eriocheir sinensis H. Mine Edwards, 1853 (Crustacea: Brachyura: Grapsoidea: Varunidae) in the River Thames using capture data from a water abstraction intake. Management of Biological Invasions Vol. 4: 139-147

How good is research at Royal Holloway, University of London in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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