Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UGA Researchers Explain Recent Decline In Georgia's Blue Crab Population

Date:
December 1, 2004
Source:
University Of Georgia
Summary:
Two researchers at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Savannah have offered an explanation for the recent decline in Georgia's blue crab population that has devastated one of the state's most important coastal fisheries.

Two researchers at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Savannah have offered an explanation for the recent decline in Georgia's blue crab population that has devastated one of the state's most important coastal fisheries.

Related Articles


In an article in the November/December issue of the American Scientist, Richard F. Lee and Marc E. Frischer, working on a grant from the Georgia Sea Grant Program at the University of Georgia, say their research shows that Georgia's recent drought, working in conjunction with an opportunistic parasite, is ultimately to blame for the decline in blue crab numbers.

Prior to the recent drought, the 45-year average for blue crab landings in the state was 8.6 million pounds per year, but at the height of the drought landings fell to 1.8 million pounds. This sharp and sustained reduction in yearly catch drove most of the state's blue crab fishermen out of business and many into bankruptcy. Lee and Frischer discovered that many of the crabs caught during the drought seemed to be suffering from a parasitic infection. The infection was determined to be Hermatodinium perezi. Though crabs infected with Hermatodinium were not unknown to the Georgia coast, Lee and Frischer set out to determine why the parasite crashed the local population so suddenly.

According to the researchers, an important part of the puzzle is the effect drought has on the delicate balance of salt water and fresh water that exists in coastal estuaries. Blue crabs spend most of their lives in this brackish water. During a drought, less fresh water comes down the state's rivers to mix with salt water that tides bring in from the Atlantic Ocean. This raises the salt content in coastal estuaries. And it is in water with this higher percentage of salt that Hermatodinium thrives and spreads from crab to crab.

Lee and Frischer found a direct correlation between the state's recent drought and the prevalence of the disease in the state's blue crab population. They also cite data showing that during times of high river flow, when the percentage of salt in the estuaries is lower, blue crab landings historically have increased. That the blue crab fishery is suffering from a weather-related problem could be good news for Georgia crabbers. With the drought officially at an end, anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that blue crab populations are on the rise, and the prevalence of the Hermatodinium infection is decreasing.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Georgia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Georgia. "UGA Researchers Explain Recent Decline In Georgia's Blue Crab Population." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041123153055.htm>.
University Of Georgia. (2004, December 1). UGA Researchers Explain Recent Decline In Georgia's Blue Crab Population. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041123153055.htm
University Of Georgia. "UGA Researchers Explain Recent Decline In Georgia's Blue Crab Population." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041123153055.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins