Palaemonetes pugio


Common NameGrass Shrimp
Number of Contigs1,206
Number of ESTs8,438
Palaemonetes pugio is an ecologically important decapod crustacean, with a distribution from Nova Scotia to Texas. It is an integral part of estuarine food webs in the southeastern US and can account for up to 60% of the macrofaunal biomass in tidal estuaries. As such, it is an important food source for many species of commercially important fish that use the estuary for refuge or reproduction, and is also intimately involved in detritus breakdown and carbon cycling. Palaemonetes are easily cultured, occur in tidal creek ecosystems adjacent to terrestrial influences, and show a heightened sensitivity to endocrine disrupting chemicals. Grass shrimp are therefore excellent models for assessing sublethal toxicant effects of importance to ecologically and economically important crustaceans in estuarine systems. Despite its extensive use in the laboratory, very little work has been done on the genetics of grass shrimp, particularly genetic surveys to define populations, and importantly, the application of sensitive genomic and proteomic approaches to detect contaminant exposure/effects. Through a collaborative effort involving researchers from USC, NOAA, HML and MUSC we are applying modern genetic approaches to this marine ‘sentinel’ species (with funding from SC SeaGrant, FISHTEC, USC ERIC and NOAA).