Blue Crab Abundance and Survival in a Fragmenting Coastal Marsh System

Apr 17, 2020

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. This paper examined the impacts of marsh fragmentation on the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, a species supporting one of the largest fisheries in coastal Louisiana and 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.