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Mark L. Botton

Ph.D.

Dr. Mark L. Botton

Professor of Biology and Co-Director, Environmental Science Program
Office: Lincoln Center 815E
Phone: 212-636-6327
Email: botton@fordham.edu

Education

I received my Bachelor's in Biology from SUNY Stony Brook, my Masters in Biology from CUNY Brooklyn College, and my PhD in Zoology from Rutgers University.

Research Interests

Research on the American horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus

My principal areas of research involve the behavior, ecology and conservation biology of horseshoe crabs. These animals are remarkable as “living fossils,” having a successful body plan and life-history strategy that predates dinosaurs. Part of their success is related to their ecological plasticity and ability to withstand a range of environmental conditions such as temperature, salinity, and water quality. I have used a range of field and laboratory investigations to gain a better understanding of these phenomena.

My principal areas of research involve the behavior, ecology and conservation biology of horseshoe crabs. These animals are remarkable as “living fossils,” having a successful body plan and life-history strategy that predates dinosaurs. Part of their success is related to their ecological plasticity and ability to withstand a range of environmental conditions such as temperature, salinity, and water quality. I have used a range of field and laboratory investigations to gain a better understanding of these phenomena.

A second, interrelated area of research focuses on the controversial horseshoe crab fishery, especially in the Delaware Bay area. During the Spring, this estuary has the largest concentration of migratory shorebirds along the east coast of North America, and horseshoe crab eggs have been shown to be their major food source. The expansion of the fishery for horseshoe crabs (which, in turn, are used as bait for eels and whelks) during the 1990's has led to concerns that overexploitation of the crabs could have detrimental effects on the shorebird population. My research has addressed questions of habitat quality and site selection in both horseshoe crabs and shorebirds, and we have also made contributions to understanding important aspects of the population biology of horseshoe crabs, such as age, growth, and survivorship.

Selected Publications

Papers Submitted or in Preparation

Duffy, E. E., D. Penn, H. J. Brockmann, M. L. Botton, and R. E. Loveland. Visual and clasper handicaps: Effects on male mating success in horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus). In preparation for submission to J. Ethology.

Selected Publications

Botton, M. L. and C. N. Shuster. 2004. Horseshoe Crabs in a Food Web: Who Eats Whom? In: C. N Shuster, R. B. Barlow, and H. J. Brockmann (eds.), The American Horseshoe Crab, pp. 133-153. Harvard Press, Cambridge.

Botton, M. L. and B. A. Harrington, with N. Tsipoura and D. Mizrahi. 2004. Synchronies in Migration: Shorebirds, Horseshoe Crabs, and Delaware Bay. In: C. N Shuster, R. B. Barlow, and H. J. Brockmann (eds.), The American Horseshoe Crab, pp. 6-32. Harvard Press, Cambridge.

Shuster, C. N., M. L. Botton, and R. E. Loveland. 2004. Horseshoe Crab Conservation: A Coast-Wide Management Plan. In: C. N. Shuster, R. B. Barlow, and H. J. Brockmann (eds.), The American Horseshoe Crab, pp. 358-377. Harvard Press, Cambridge

*Names in boldface indicate student co-authors

Selected Presentation

Recent Presentations at Scientific Meetings with Student Co-authors

2004 Benthic Ecology Meetings, “Temperature tolerance in horseshoe crabs: The role of heat shock proteins,” M. L. Botton, L. Smoral, M. Pogorzelska, and M. G. Hamilton.

2002 American Fisheries Society, “Recruitment and survival of young of the year horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) on a Delaware Bay sand-flat,” M. L. Botton, R. E. Loveland, and A. Mengharini.

2001 Benthic Ecology Meetings, “Extended amplexus may explain similar fouling patterns in mated horseshoe crabs,” M. D'Angelo, R. E. Loveland, and M. L. Botton.

2001 Benthic Ecology Meetings, “Visual impairment of the horseshoe crab: Effects on male mating success,” E. Duffy, M. L. Botton and R. E. Loveland.

Courses Taught

  • General Biology I and II and laboratories
  • Global Ecology
  • Senior Seminar