By Nikki Dix and Shannon Dunnigan
Caitlin Garvey, our summer intern, recently completed an independent research project, “Comparing the Influence of Crabs in Salt Marsh and Mangrove Habitats.” Caitlin was funded by a National Science Foundation grant administered by the University of North Florida. Using pitfall traps, she caught more crabs in salt marshes than in mangroves. She also found positive correlations between the number of crab burrows and vegetation condition (stem density, percent cover, canopy height) in salt marshes but not mangroves.
Results suggest that crabs may have a stronger association with salt marshes and may be affected by northern mangrove migration. Caitlin will be going back to the University of Connecticut to finish her undergraduate degree, but she will take this first research experience with her for the rest of her career – once a NERRd, always a NERRd!