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Faculty and Staff - Robert Bayer

bobExecutive Director, Lobster Institute
Professor of Animal and Veterinary Sciences
Cooperating Professor, Food Science & Human Nutrition
210 Rogers Hall
Phone 207/581-2785
Fax 207/581-2729
E-mail: or

Lobster Institute Website




  • BS University of Vermont, Burlington 1966
  • MS University of Vermont, Burlington 1968
  • Ph.D. Michigan State University, East Lansing 1972

Research interests

Dr. Bayer has been involved in lobster research for nearly 30 years and since 1995 has been Executive Director of the Lobster Institute, located on the campus of the University of Maine.  His primary interests are in the areas of lobster nutrition, management and pathology.  

In addition to his work with the Lobster Institute, Dr. Bayer is a Professor of Animal & Veterinary Sciences at the University of Maine.  He also serves as an adjunct professor in Food Sciences and in 1979 was a visiting scientist at the Institute of Marine Biochemistry in Aberdeen, Scotland.  He has taught a variety of courses, such as: Endocrinology, Nutrition, Anatomy and Physiology, Marine Resources, and Aquaculture. 

Dr. Bayer has written or collaborated on dozens of articles for a variety of professional journals, and is the co-author of several books and industry manuals. 

He is also the co-holder of two U.S. patents – one for the gaffkemia vaccine and the other for a method and solution for improving frozen seafood quality.  He is also known for his work with shell disease research, testing of artificial diets and baits for lobsters, developing tests for determining illegal removal of lobster eggs with chlorine bleach, and a variety of other research related to lobsters and the lobster industry.


Select Journal Articles & Abstracts:

Bayer, R.C. W.R. Brasslett, B. Pearce, and D.Cowan. 2007. Magnetic resonance and computed tomography images of normal and shell diseased lobsters. Journal of Shellfish Research 24:640

Congleton, W, R. Bayer, W. Fike. 2011. Trap design for assessment of prerecruit lobster (Homarus americanus) populations. 103rd Annual Meeting of the National Shellfisheries Association, Baltimore, MD

Dawes, R., D. Neivandt, R. Bayer, B. Beal, and G. Protopopescu. 2011. Quahog clam shells as reusable and biodegradable larval lobster grow out for use in open water. 103rd Annual Meeting of the National Shellfisheries Association, Baltimore, MD

Harden, M., R. Bayer. 2011. Does less bait catch fewer lobsters? Assessing the effect of bait reduction on lobster harvest. 103rd Annual Meeting of the National Shellfisheries Association, Baltimore, MD

Bolton, J. C., L.B. Perkins, R. Bushway, S. Collings, J. Vetilino, R.C. Bayer, and R. Smith. 2007. A non-invasive vitality sensor for the American lobster. Proc. 8th Annual Conference and Workshop, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Kaye, J., W.R. Congleton, R.C. Bayer and B.R. Pearce. 2007. GIS analysis of lobster shell disease distribution in the Gulf of Maine. Proc. 8th Annual Conference and Workshop, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

LeBlanc, L.A., L.B. Perkins, J.C. Bolton, T. Vassiliev, W.R. Congleton and R.C. Bayer. 2007. Is there a link between epizootic lobster shell disease and contaminant body burdens? Proc. 8th Annual Conference and Workshop, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Calder, B.L., A.A. Bushway, R.C. Bayer, K.A. Davis-Dentici and M.E. Camire. 2005. Quality of Whole Lobster (Homarus americanus) treated with Sodium Tripolyphosphate Before Cooking and Frozen Storage. Journal of Food Science 70(9):C523-528

Tall, B.D., S. Fall, D. Prince, R. Bayer, et al. Dec. 2003. Characterization of Vibrio fluvialis-Like Strains Implicated in Limp Lobster Disease. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 69 (12):7435-7446.

Floreto, E.A.T., R.C. Bayer, P.B. Brown. Mar. 2001. The effects of krill hydrolysate-supplemented soya-bean based diets on the growth, colouration, amino and fatty acid profiles of juvenile American lobster, Homarus americanus. Aquacult. Nutr. 7(1):33-43.

Skonberg, Denise I., Darrell W. Donahue, Robert C. Bayer, Eric Floreto, and John G. Riley, 2001. Quality Evaluation of American Lobsters Fed Diets Containing Crab Processing Waste. Journal of Aquatic Food Product Technology, Vol. 10(2):17-29.

Donahue, D.W. Bayer, R.C. Riley, J.G. 1998.  Effects of diet on weight gain and shell hardness of new-shell American lobster, Homarus americanus. Journal of Applied Aquaculture.  vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 79-85.

Loughlin, M.B., Bayer, R.C., Prince, D.L. 1998.  Lobster, Homarus Americanus, Gastric Fluid Is a Barrier to the Ciliate, Anophryoides haemophila, in an in vitro Study.  Journal of Applied Aquaculture.  Vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 67-72.

Leavitt, D. F.; Bayer, R. C. 1977.  A refractometric method of determining serum protein concentration in the American lobster. Aquaculture, Vol. 12 pp169-17


Career Highlights:bob eliz

  • In addition to his teaching; public service, particularly working with the lobster fishery and the lobster industry, has been a primary focus. 
  • Has provided outreach services to lobster-related businesses – including pound owners, processors, and distributors.
  • Received the University of Maine’s Presidential Public Service Award in 1988.
  • Became executive director of the Lobster Institute in 1995.
  • Was a primary consultant to the Long Island Sound lobstermen following the catastrophic die-off of lobster stocks there in 1999.
  • Initiated Lobster College, a learning experience for the general public, in 2001 – and educational coordinator for the spin-off Lobster Academy for industry sectors.
  • Initiated the Lobster Institute’s annual Canadian/U.S. Lobstermen’s Town Meeting in 2004.


  • Lead researcher for the Lobster Institute since its inception in 1987.
  • Two patents:  gaffekemia vaccine (for red tail disease in impounded lobsters) & method for improving frozen seafood quality
  • One of the first to initiate studies on lobster shell disease.
  • Numerous projects related to lobster health, lobster nutrition & diet, value-added product development, etc.
  • Spearheaded a grant to equip the Maine Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment – and create a Marine Environmental Samples Repository here on campus.
  • Instrumental in the formation of a region-wide Lobster Health Coalition

Student Projectsbob and group

Dr Bayer has worked with many graduate and senior students on various projects, here is a sampling of studies with University of Maine students which were conducted as part of my MAFES project’s look at lobster health:

  • The Masters thesis of former Animal & Veterinary Sciences (AVS) graduate student Julie Kaye, funded as part of this project, and presented at the 8th International conference and workshop on lobster biology and management, looked at the incidence of shell disease in Maine and a possible association with copper and/or mercury. 
  • Working with the sensor lab in the Department of Electrical Engineering, jointly with Food Science & Human Nutrition graduate student (now doctoral candidate)  Jason Bolton, a sensor is being developed to determine lobster quality and vigor based on a serum protein measurement.  This project was funded by SBIR. 
  • Work we conducted prior to this project indicated that the bacteria Photobacterium indicum could be associated with mortalities in lobster pounds . P. indicum is an opportunist that seems to have developed into a pathogen.   Marine Bio-Resources graduate student David Basti, DVM based his thesis work on looking at patterns of mortality in lobster pounds.  A stocking experiment was designed to monitor mortality in lobsters during a normal impoundment cycle.  483 lobsters were sampled for bacteremia.
  • In a concurrent study, lobsters were treated with a minimal dose of 2 mg of oxytetracycline by gavage or feed in an attempt to decrease mortality in pounded lobsters This study was done by AVS student Sarah Spurr along with lobstermen Herb Hodgkins of Hancock, Maine and Jason Joyce of Swans Island, Maine.  Lobsters were donated by Trenton Bridge Lobster Company in Trenton, Maine.  A follow up study was conducted by feeding lobsters as they were being placed for tidal pound storage.
  • A study of the affects of ocean acidification on juvenile lobsters with graduate student in Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Joshua Hall.
  • Current-day use of high speed pot haulers had been suggested by some lobstermen as a stress producer that may allow movement of P. indicum bacteria, normally found in the gut of the lobster, to the hemolymph. I worked at that time with now post-doc David Basti, DVM.  As part of a capstone project, AVS undergraduate Matt Louis, made video observation of the stress on lobsters hauled at high speeds.
  • Many more senior capstone projects were also undertaken.




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