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Data from: Blue crab abundance and survival in a fragmenting coastal marsh system

Citation

Shakeri, Lennah M.; Darnell, Kelly M.; Carruthers, Tim J. B.; Darnell, M. Zachary (2020), Data from: Blue crab abundance and survival in a fragmenting coastal marsh system, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.wwpzgmsg3

Abstract

Louisiana’s coastal marshes are becoming increasingly fragmented due to sea level rise, subsidence, reduced sediment inflow from the Mississippi River, and saltwater intrusion. Many commercially and recreationally fished species rely on the marsh system as nursery habitat, and the resilience of species to further marsh loss and marsh fragmentation is uncertain. We examined the impacts of marsh fragmentation on the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, a species supporting one of the largest fisheries in coastal Louisiana, which uses marsh edge as nursery habitat. Juvenile and adult abundances were quantified in multiple habitats (bare sediment, marsh edge, and submerged aquatic vegetation [SAV]) within an actively fragmenting coastal marsh. Adult blue crabs were sampled using crab pots, while juveniles were sampled using a throw trap. In general, blue crab density was unrelated to the ranges of marsh fragmentation sampled here, but were instead related to local-scale patterns of habitat availability, including presence and type of vegetation. In tethering experiments to examine predation rates on juvenile blue crabs across habitats, predation rates were lowest in SAV compared to marsh edge or bare sediment. While direct effects of marsh fragmentation on local-scale patterns of blue crab abundance were not observed, marsh fragmentation will likely have indirect effects on blue crab populations through changes in habitat availability. Unless SAV expands into newly created open water areas, providing an alternative nursery habitat for blue crabs, continued marsh fragmentation and loss is expected to have negative impacts on future blue crab populations and fisheries through a decrease in available nursery habitat.

Methods

Please see the published paper:

Shakeri et al. 2020. Blue crab abundance and survival in a fragmenting coastal marsh system. Estuaries and Coasts. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-020-00738-9

For more information, contact M. Zachary Darnell (zachary.darnell@usm.edu).

Usage Notes

Please see README.txt.

Funding

NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Award: NA15NMF4270328

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (Gulf Research Program)