Brunswick resident discovers new crustacean species, wins grant

Ray Gerber of Brunswick, professor of biology at Saint Joseph's College in Standish, has discovered a new species of crustacean whiles researching zooplankton at the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea. Gerber has been sampling fresh and brackish water on the island of St. John, as well as hypersaline lagoons on the island, called salt ponds. The new species, less than 1mm long (1/32"), was living in a pond six times saltier than ocean water.

Dr. Gerber, who is particularly interested in the biogeography and taxonomy of small crustacea, has been awarded a Saint Joseph's faculty grant to continue his research in the U.S. Virgin Islands for the next three years. He has previously published An Identification Manual to the Zooplankton from Passamaquoddy Bay to Long Island Sound.

Gerber has named the new copepod species "Cletocamptus tainoi" in honor of the Taino Indians who were the original inhabitants of the Virgin Islands. These tiny crustaceans are found abundantly in the salt ponds along the coast of St. John.

September 12, 2006 Contact: Charmaine Daniels at (207) 893-7723 or e-mail cdaniels@sjcme.edu