Managing potential impacts of harmful algal blooms on commercially important crab fisheries is hindered by a lack of understanding of the uptake and retention (ecological cycling) of domoicacid (DA) in benthic habitats. We will investigate the missing links in transfer and persistence of DA in Dungeness and rock crabs by identifying what the crabs eat, whether their prey maycontain DA and, if so, whether the prey may contribute to DA uptake and retention in the crabs. We will also investigate DA depuration under laboratory conditions to determine whether species‐specific differences in DA retention may explain, at least in part, varying DA persistence between Dungeness and rock crab. Taken together, our field and laboratory studies will identify routes and timelines of DA transfer in crab food chains and crab tissues. This information will benefit fishing communities and the state by informing monitoring of DA for benthic fisheries, identifying potential hot spots based on benthic communities, determining risks associated with consumption of different crab parts, and enhancing the ability of public health agencies to formulate area‐, species‐ and tissue‐specific consumption recommendations and timely seafood health advisories.