Horst speaks to Portsmouth Herald about lobster shell disease

Michael Horst, visiting scientist at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center, spoke to the Portsmouth Herald about epizootic shell disease in lobsters, which is on the rise in the Gulf of Maine. Horst said that the disease causes bacteria and fungi to grow on the lobster’s carapace so that the lobster is unable to fight off the infection and secretes enzymes into the shell that dissolve chitin, one of the major constitutions of the lobster shell. Eventually, it creates a soft spot in the shell. Warm water is considered a significant factor, which means summer months often see the most disease. “Ambient water temperature seems to be a trigger for getting this stuff going,” Horst said.