MIT Sea Grant Center for Coastal Resources

About Coastal Resources:

Thecacera pennigera
Thecacera pennigera is a sea slug (Mollusca: Gastropoda). Originally found on the Atlantic coast of Europe, it has spread to Africa and Asia and has now been spotted as a new invader in New England. Its size ranges from 15mm to 30mm long and is usually a spotted, brown and orange appearance. Photo credit: D. Woods, A. Shepard, and C. Ranney

MIT Sea Grant Coastal Resources is committed to disseminating scientific and technical information to those who value the coast and its natural resources. This site highlights research, monitoring programs, and management actions in the areas of marine bioinvasive species, water and sediment quality, and habitats within the geographic areas of Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay, coastal Massachusetts and the Gulf of Maine. The scientific level of review is indicated for all documents and outreach materials.

We need your help! The Chinese mitten crab (Eriochier sinensis) is native to East Asia where it is valued as food.  It spends most of its life in fresh water and migrates to the sea to reproduce.  It is the only crab in fresh water and is characterized by the fuzz on its claws.  For more information and what to do if you see this crab, download our flyer.

The MITSG Coastal Resources publications are available electronically through the link above.

The MIT Sea Grant educational pamphlet Live and Fresh Seafood: Into the pan, not into the wild was developed to encourage people not to release or dump live and fresh seafood and seafood waste products into the wild. The pamphlet is available in English, Chinese, Khmer, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese and copies can be downloaded from this website.

The MIT Sea Grant Hitchhikers Guide to Exotic Species is now available online! This field guide is printed on waterproof paper for beachcombers, students and others, and contains color photographs and information on several non-native species and a few native species (for comparison). To obtain a copy of the guide, find out how you can help us track the spread of these species, and other information, go to the Hitchhikers page.

Invasive Species Sighting Submission Form
If you have seen a marine exotic (also known as non-native, invasive, and bioinvader), please report it via the "Hitchhiker's Guide to Exotic Species" link on the home page of our Marine Invader Tracking Information System. More information on marine invasive species can be found on our Marine Bioinvaders information page.

New England Invasive Crabs Data
A New Citizen Scientist Initiative, coordinated by David Delaney of McGill University, is producing data on invasive crab distributions along the coast of New England. The link above contains information on the project and maps of the data collected to date.

The Rapid Assessment Surveys, in August 2000 and 2003 inspected sites around New England for native and non-native species. An interactive map is available, showing the sites that were surveyed, and where each species was found. The map, along with more details on the project, and descriptions of the species can be found through the link above. We have recently (03/2004) updated our species lists and maps to include data from the 2003 survey, and to reflect current taxonomic classifications.


The Sixth International Conference on Marine Bioinvasions will be held in the fall of 2009.  This website will be the location of new information as details become available.

For the Fifth International Conference on Marine Bioinvasions, we have copies of the agenda and abstract booklet available through MIT Publications (http://web/

The International Conference on Biofouling & Ballast Water Management will be held 5-7 February, 2008 in Goa, INDIA.

We welcome your comments and suggestions as we continue to develop this site.


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  this page last updated on: 7 December, 2009