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Bullfrog Films

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Horseshoe Crab Moon

Looks at the decline of horseshoe crabs and the crash of the red knot that depends on horseshoe crab eggs for sustenance during migration, and suggests possible solutions.

A printer-friendly version of this page 48 minutes
SDH Captioned>>

Directed by Mitchell Smith
Produced by MediaSmith Films
Original Musical Score: Alec Smith, Mitchell Smith

"A tremendous resource that provides insight into one of the great wildlife wonders of the world." David Mizrahi, PhD, New Jersey Audubon Society
[Note: Community screenings of HORSESHOE CRAB MOON can be booked at Bullfrog Communities.]

HORSESHOE CRAB MOON follows scientists, researchers and citizen scientists who are studying the decline of the horseshoe crab along the East coast, and in particular the Delaware Bay. Horseshoe crab numbers have been declining rapidly over the last few decades due to the downturn in the Delaware Bay's water quality, and the over-harvesting of horseshoe crabs for bait. The film also looks at the resulting crash of the red knot, a globe-trotting sandpiper, which depends on horseshoe crabs eggs for sustenance during its incredible migrations. The number of migrating red knots has dropped nearly 80% in the last few years.

The film also tells the inspiring story of the scientists and field biologists' successful efforts to connect an ancient ecosystem with the interconnected relationship of the moon, tides, horseshoe crabs and sandpipers. Diligent data collection and scientific documentation is used to understand the interdependence of these populations, and guide the most effective way that scientists and the public can help in reinvigorating the horseshoe crab and red knot populations and restoring the health of the bay.

Grade Level: 7 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2023     Copyright Date: 2022
DVD ISBN: 1-948745-95-X

"Horseshoe Crab Moon is an exquisite film about interspecies relationships and illustrates the indispensability of horseshoe crabs to our marine ecosystem. As a keystone species, horseshoe crabs are connected to the wellbeing of birds, turtles and fish. Showcasing conservation efforts, this lively documentary follows citizen scientists as they gather health data about shorebirds and documents the longitudinal effects of humans' use of horseshoe crabs for bait."
Lisa Jean Moore, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies, Purchase College SUNY, Author, Catch and Release: The Enduring, yet Vulnerable Horseshoe Crab

"Horseshoe Crab Moon details an interesting and important story that will be of interest to many people. It is both beautifully filmed and the serious conservation issues are accurately portrayed."
Christopher Chabot, Professor of Biology, Plymouth State University

"Horseshoe Crab Moon depicts the complex nature of the interaction between horseshoe crabs and red knots along Delaware Bay. It highlights the importance of horseshoe crabs and how this animal sits within its ecosystem. This is an especially informative documentary educating the community in general as it presents a complex story in a very approachable manner."
Dr. Russell Bicknell, School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England - Australia

"Horseshoe Crab Moon presents high-level material very clearly, but more importantly shows these creatures to be the magical, essential part of the world they are and shows the humanity and compassion that will be needed to change what's happening."
Eron Higgins, Visiting Assistant Professor of Marine Science, Eckerd College

"Horseshoe Crab Moon is a tremendous resource that provides insight into one of the great wildlife wonders of the world; the spawning of horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay, the migration of the federally threatened Red Knot and other shorebird species, and the interconnectedness of these two distinct phenomena. The film presents exceptional scientific expertise by the researchers that are globally recognized for their work on the conservation of horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebirds. Its potential to educate and enlighten both school age children and adults about the natural world and how science underpins efforts to conserve wildlife cannot be overstated."
David Mizrahi, PhD, Vice-president for Research and Monitoring, New Jersey Audubon Society

"Horseshoe Crab Moon beautifully documents the tragic decline of two of the planet's greatest wonders - the extraordinary migration of the rufa red knot, one of the longest in the animal kingdom, and the annual spawning of millions of horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay, which provides the primary food to fuel this incredible journey. This film is a must-watch for understanding what's at stake in the ongoing extinction crisis we're living through."
Noah Greenwald, Endangered Species Director, Center for Biological Diversity

"This skillfully told powerful film tells the story of one of the most endangered birds in the world and the web of life across continents. Although the decline of the red knot is heartbreaking, this documentary makes clear that it doesn't have to become a victim of the extinction crisis we are creating. Human actions are driving its decline and our actions can save it."
Tierra Curry, Senior Scientist, Center for Biological Diversity

"Nature, ocean life, and ornithology are key nesting sites. Any collections in which Delaware Bay is home territory should also take note. A wide net of Earth Science, Marine Biology, Ornithology, Sustainability, and Environmentalism-oriented courses can benefit from the lesson. Despite a smattering of foul (and fowl) language, viewership should be considered junior-high level up to college. In addition to the lyrical filmmaking, a run time of just under an hour makes this a particularly recommended classroom addition."
Charles Cassady, Video Librarian

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DVDs include public performance rights.

DVD Features
DVD includes SDH captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing as well as scene selection.

Awards and Festivals
Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival
Earth Port Film Festival

Animal Behavior/Communication
Citizen Science
Endangered Species
Life Science
Marine Biology
Oceans and Coasts

Related Titles

The Crabs, The Birds, The Bay
Migrating shorebirds feast on horseshoe crab eggs in Delaware Bay.

A close-up look at wetlands ecology.

Secrets of the Salt Marsh
An overview of salt marsh ecology.

The Intertidal Zone
Ecology of the ecological zone between the tides.

... more Reviews

"Highly recommended for academic libraries because of the multiple ways that it could readily connect with a course's learning goals. It's an excellent example of interactions between species and human impacts on ecosystems. It demonstrates how research design and data collection work in field ecology and can be used to show changes in an ecosystem over time. It also effectively shows the impacts of research (or perils of inaction) on real-world problems. This would be a perfect film for classes that introduce students to field ecology and instructors in biology and environmental studies are likely to find it useful for many other course objectives as well."
Abbey B. Lewis, University of Colorado Boulder, Educational Media Reviews Online

"Engaging narration, lively birds, horseshoe crabs swarming nighttime beaches, and well-organized facts will hold viewer attention and underpin discussion of food webs and interconnected ecosystems."
Maggie Knapp, School Library Journal

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