An encounter with fairy shrimp is one of the great joys of visiting a woodland vernal pool. These small, shrimp-like crustaceans are as ephemeral as some orchids—appearing in abundance one year, and not at all the next. Because of their erratic lifecycle and spotty distribution, in addition to inherent difficulties with species identification, finding and studying these vernal pool specialists is a challenge.

Vermont was lacking data on species presence and distribution of fairy shrimp. Since 2022, VCE has partnered with University of Kansas carcinologist Dr. Christopher Rogers to conduct the first inventory of Vermont's fairy shrimp.

Intricate Fairy Shrimp at a vernal pool in Pomfret, Vermont captured by Peter Brooke.