Helping Save Marine Life: Student Examines How Manganese Affects Horseshoe Crabs

The students in New Rochelle High School’s Science Research Program explore a dazzling range of topics under the mentorship of experts from some of the top institutions of learning and exploration. 


Student: Aviva Segal, Junior

Mentor: Dr. Nicholas Santangelo, Associate Professor of Biology at Hofstra University


In the ongoing battle to save our oceans, it’s important to understand the possible negative effects of certain elements and toxins on marine life. To that end, New Rochelle High School student Aviva Segal examined the effect of manganese on the development of Atlantic horseshoe crab eggs.

The first step in her research involved collecting several horseshoe crab egg specimens from a beach on Long Island, then exposing them to several manganese concentrations, ranging from 0 to 50 ppm (parts per million).


“We noticed that no egg development was occurring in manganese concentrations exceeding 1 ppm, so we conducted a second experiment that focused on smaller concentrations ranging from 0-1 ppm (0, 0.01, 0.05, 0.1, 0.5, 1 ppm),” said Segal. “We found that in a controlled lab setting, the manganese toxicity threshold for horseshoe crab eggs exists between 0.5 and 1 ppm.”


Segal’s interest in the development of horseshoe crabs stems from summer beach trips with her family, during which she’d observe the behavior of these creatures. She decided to conduct her research after learning about a recent decline in the horseshoe crab population.

Thanks to New Rochelle High School’s Science Research Program, Segal was able to study the effect of manganese on horseshoe crabs in both the field and lab. Through this experience, she now knows that she’d like to pursue a career in Environmental Science.


“I entered the Science Research Program having a vague idea about what I wanted to pursue after high school,” Segal said. “After participating in this program, however, my future aspirations have become clear.”


Segal considered this project a rewarding experience and was thankful for the enthusiastic support from her peers in the Science Research Program.

“The opportunities to do field work and bench-top research have been the most rewarding aspects of the Science Research Program,” she said. “In addition, the Science Research Program has provided a community of supportive and like-minded students who are also interested in scientific exploration.”