Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Praying To The Porcelain Crab Gods

Georgia's got a crab problem...or at least they think they might...well actually, they're not quite sure. This report from newswise describes recent research on the impact of the introduced green porcelain crab (Petrolisthes armatus) on Georgia's oyster and mussel beds. While these tiny crabs are not oyster predators, they are filter feeders, so there is concern that they could be negatively impacting oysters and mussels by stealing away their food source. On the other hand, the crabs are providing a food source for larger crabs as well as fish, and this is altering the dynamics of the food web, possibly meaning less predation on oysters (but wait, won't that lead to more fish and predator crabs...and then???). The long-term impacts of the porcelain crab invasion have yet to be understood, but this three-year investigation has brought a lot of new information to light. To read more about it, check out the original research in the journal Biological Invasions...if you have a subscription. Or you can just download Amanda Hellebone's thesis (pdf) on the subject, no strings attached.

Thanks to budak for sending in a link to this story, and bonus points to newswise for keeping the scientific name of the crab in the article.

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