Advertisement

Marine Biology

, Volume 159, Issue 3, pp 621–631 | Cite as

Environmental and endogenous control of selective tidal-stream transport behavior during blue crab Callinectes sapidus spawning migrations

  • M. Zachary DarnellEmail author
  • Thomas G. Wolcott
  • Dan Rittschof
Original Paper

Abstract

Selective tidal-stream transport (STST) is used by many estuarine organisms. Spawning blue crabs use a form of STST, ebb-tide transport (ETT), to migrate to high-salinity areas of the lower estuary and coastal ocean for larval release. In tidal estuaries, ETT is driven by a circatidal rhythm in vertical swimming with episodic ascents into the water column during ebb tide. This study examined vertical swimming behavior of migrating female blue crabs tethered in habitats they could encounter during migration. A combined bio-physical field study in the summer of 2009 simultaneously measured physical parameters of the water column and vertical swimming behavior of tethered ovigerous crabs using pressure-recording dataloggers. Tethering sites were in the tidal Beaufort Inlet drainage and the non-tidal Albemarle-Pamlico Estuarine System, North Carolina, USA. Crabs tethered in tidal areas swam primarily during ebb tides, both day and night. Swimming frequency increased as embryonic development progressed and ebb-tide swimming continued after larval release. Swimming frequency varied among habitats with the highest swimming frequency in the known migratory corridor. Swimming did not occur in the non-tidal habitat. Differences in swimming frequency among sites are hypothesized to be responses to environmental cues, including flow regime. Some habitats serve as migratory corridors while others serve as foraging stopovers. These areas are likely defined by a combination of environmental cues including flow regime.

Keywords

Blue Crab Flood Tide Female Crab Larval Release Migratory Corridor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Tara Essock-Burns, Kelly Darnell, Josh Osterberg, and Jack Boyle for technical assistance with this study and Gary and William Cannon for assistance with crab collection. Larry Crowder, Kelly Darnell, Richard Forward, Anson Hines, Bill Kirby-Smith, and Pablo Munguia provided valuable comments on this manuscript. Funding for this study was provided by North Carolina Sea Grant (Blue Crab Research Program grants 07-Biol-03 and 08-Biol-04).

Supplementary material

227_2011_1841_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (134 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 134 kb)
227_2011_1841_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (268 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 268 kb)
227_2011_1841_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (92 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 91.9 kb)
227_2011_1841_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (18 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (PDF 17 kb)

References

  1. Abelló P, Reid DG, Naylor E (1991) Comparative locomotor activity patterns in the portunid crabs Liocarcinus holsatus and L. depurator. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 71:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aguilar R, Hines AH, Wolcott TG, Wolcott DL, Kramer MA, Lipcius RN (2005) The timing and route of movement and migration of post-copulatory female blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus Rathbun, from the upper Chesapeake Bay. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 319:117–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Akiyama T (2004) Entrainment of the circatidal swimming activity rhythm in the cumacean Dimorphostylis asiatica (Crustacea) to 12.5-hour hydrostatic pressure cyles. Zool Sci 21:29–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blackmon DC, Eggleston DB (2001) Factors influencing planktonic, post-settlement dispersal of early juvenile blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus Rathbun). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 257:183–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carr SD, Tankersley RA, Hench JL, Forward RB, Luettich RA (2004) Movement patterns and trajectories of ovigerous blue crabs Callinectes sapidus during the spawning migration. Est Coast Shelf Sci 60:567–579CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Champalbert G, Koutsikopoulos C (1995) Behavior, transport, and recruitment of Bay of Biscay sole (Solea solea): Laboratory and field studies. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 75:93–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Costlow JD, Bookhout CG (1959) The larval development of Callinectes sapidus Rathbun reared in the laboratory. Biol Bull 116:373–396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Darnell MZ (2009) Spawning biology of female blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus. Ph.D. Dissertation, Duke University, Durham, NCGoogle Scholar
  9. Darnell MZ, Rittschof D (2010) Role of larval release pheromones and peptide mimics in abdominal pumping and swimming behavior of ovigerous blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 391:112–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Darnell MZ, Rittschof D, Darnell KM, McDowell RE (2009) Lifetime reproductive potential of female blue crabs Callinectes sapidus in North Carolina, USA. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 394:153–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Darnell MZ, Rittschof D, Forward RB (2010) Endogenous swimming rhythms underlying the spawning migration of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus: ontogeny and variation with ambient tidal regime. Mar Biol 157:2415–2425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. DeVries MC, Forward RB (1991) Mechanisms of crustacean egg hatching: Evidence for enzyme-release by crab embryos. Mar Biol 110:281–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dickinson GH, Rittschof D, Latanich C (2006) Spawning biology of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, in North Carolina. Bull Mar Sci 79:273–285Google Scholar
  14. Etherington LL, Eggleston DB (2000) Large-scale blue crab recruitment: linking postlarval transport, post-settlement planktonic dispersal, and multiple nursery habitats. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 204:179–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Etherington LL, Eggleston DB (2003) Spatial dynamics of large-scale, multistage crab (Callinectes sapidus) dispersal: determinants and consequences for recruitment. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 60:873–887CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Forward RB, Bourla MH (2008) Entrainment of the larval release rhythm of the crab Rhithropanopeus harrisii (Brachyura: Xanthidae) by cycles in hydrostatic pressure. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 357:128–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Forward RB, Rittschof D (1994) Photoresponses of crab megalopae in offshore and estuarine waters: implications for transport. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 182:183–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Forward RB, Tankersley RA (2001) Selective tidal-stream transport of marine animals. Oceanogr Mar Biol 39:305–353Google Scholar
  19. Forward RB, Tankersley RA, Welch JM (2003a) Selective tidal-stream transport of the blue crab Callinectes sapidus: an overview. Bull Mar Sci 72:347–365Google Scholar
  20. Forward RB, Tankersley RA, Pochelon PN (2003b) Circatidal activity rhythms in ovigerous blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus: implications for ebb-tide transport during the spawning migration. Mar Biol 142:67–76Google Scholar
  21. Forward RB, Reyns NB, Diaz H, Cohen JH, Eggleston DB (2004) Endogenous swimming rhythms of juvenile blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, as related to horizontal transport. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 299:63–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Forward RB, Cohen JH, Darnell MZ, Saal A (2005a) The circatidal rhythm in vertical swimming of female blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, during their spawning migration: a reconsideration. J Shellfish Res 24:587–590Google Scholar
  23. Forward RB, Reyns NB, Diaz H, Cohen JH, Eggleston DB (2005b) Endogenous swimming rhythms underlying secondary dispersal of early juvenile blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 316:91–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fraser PJ, Macdonald AG (1994) Crab hydrostatic pressure sensors. Nature 371:383–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Heck KL, Orth RJ (1980) Structural components of eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows in the lower Chesapeake Bay—Decapod Crustacea. Estuaries 3:289–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hench JL, Luettich RA (2003) Transient tidal circulation and momentum balances at a shallow inlet. J Phys Oceanogr 33:913–932CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hench JL, Forward RB, Carr SD, Rittschof D, Luettich RA (2004) Testing a selective tidal-stream transport model: Observations of female blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) vertical migration during the spawning season. Limnol Oceanogr 49:1857–1870CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hines AH, Jivoff PR, Bushmann PJ, van Montfrans J, Reed SA, Wolcott DL, Wolcott TG (2003) Evidence for sperm limitation in the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus. Bull Mar Sci 72:287–310Google Scholar
  29. Hunter E, Cotton RJ, Metcalfe JD, Reynolds JD (2009) Large-scale variation in seasonal swimming patterns of plaice in the North Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 392:167–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Little KT, Epifanio CE (1991) Mechanism for the re-invasion of an estuary by two species of brachyuran megalopae. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 68:235–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Metcalfe JD, Arnold GP, Webb PW (1990) The energetics of migration by selective tidal stream transport: an analysis for plaice tracked in the southern North Sea. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 70:149–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Metcalfe JD, Hunter E, Buckley AA (2006) The migratory behaviour of North Sea plaice: currents, clocks and clues. Mar Freshw Behav Physiol 39:25–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Morgan E (1965) The activity rhythm of the amphipod Corophium volutator (Pallas) and its possible relationship to changes in hydrostatic pressure associated with the tides. J Anim Ecol 34:731–746CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ogburn MB, Diaz H, Forward RB (2009) Mechanisms regulating estuarine ingress of blue crab Callinectes sapidus megalopae. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 389:181–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ramach SM, Darnell MZ, Avissar NG, Rittschof D (2009) Habitat use and population dynamics of blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, in a high-salinity embayment. J Shellfish Res 28:635–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Reyns NB, Eggleston DB (2004) Environmentally-controlled, density-dependent secondary dispersal in a local estuarine crab population. Oecologia 140:280–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rittschof D, Darnell MZ, Darnell KM, Goldman M, Ogburn MB, McDowell RE (2010) Estimating relative abundance of the female blue crab spawning stock in North Carolina. In: Kruse GH, Eckert GL, For RJ, Lipcius RN, Sainte-Marie B, Stram DL, Woodby D (eds) Biology and management of exploited crab populations under climate change. Alaska Sea Grant College Program, FairbanksGoogle Scholar
  38. Sandoz M, Rogers R (1944) The effect of environmental factors on hatching, moulting, and survival of zoea larvae of the blue crab Callinectes sapidus Rathbun. Ecology 25:216–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tankersley RA, Wieber MG, Sigala MA, Kachurak KA (1998) Migratory behavior of ovigerous blue crabs Callinectes sapidus: evidence for selective tidal-stream transport. Biol Bull 195:168–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Van Engel WA (1958) The blue crab and its fishery in Chesapeake Bay. Part 1 - Reproduction, early development, growth, and migration. Commer Fish Rev 20:6–16Google Scholar
  41. Weihs D (1978) Tidal stream transport as an efficient method for migration. J Conseil 38:92–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Welch JM, Forward RB (2001) Flood-tide transport of blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, postlarvae: behavioral responses to salinity and turbulence. Mar Biol 139:911–918CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Welch JM, Forward RB, Howd PA (1999) Behavioral responses of blue crab Callinectes sapidus postlarvae to turbulence: implications for selective tidal stream transport. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 179:135–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Zachary Darnell
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Thomas G. Wolcott
    • 2
  • Dan Rittschof
    • 1
  1. 1.Duke University Marine LaboratoryNicholas School of the EnvironmentBeaufortUSA
  2. 2.Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric SciencesNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  3. 3.Marine Science InstituteThe University of Texas at AustinPort AransasUSA

Personalised recommendations