Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 688–698 | Cite as

Blue Crab (Callinectes sapidus Rathbun, 1896) Settlement at Three Georgia (USA) Estuarine Sites

  • T. Dale Bishop
  • Harlan L. MillerIII
  • Randal L. Walker
  • Dorset H. Hurley
  • Theron Menken
  • Charles E. Tilburg
Article

Abstract

The blue crab, Callinectes sapidus Rathbun, 1896, represents the second most important fishery for coastal Georgia; yet, little is known about environmental forces that affect planktonic postlarval settlement in the region. Here, we describe a study to examine the physical mechanisms responsible for blue crab settlement in the extensive salt marsh system of coastal Georgia. Bottom and surface samplers were placed at three sites along a salinity gradient from a low-salinity site in the Altamaha River to a high-salinity area of the Duplin River, Sapelo Island, GA, USA during 2005. Megalopae and juvenile monitoring occurred from July through December. The majority of both megalopae (86.8%) and juvenile (89.3%) blue crabs were recovered in bottom samplers at the low-salinity Altamaha River site during August and early September. Few megalopae were collected at the surface of the Altamaha River or at the two higher-salinity sites in the Duplin and North Rivers. Downwelling winds were unable to explain all settlement events; however, winds with an onshore component regularly preceded settlement events. The use of a multiple-regression model revealed a lagged relationship (r = 0.5461, \( lag = 0–2 days \)) between wind events, temperature, salinity, maximum tidal height, and settlement.

Keywords

Blue crab Callinectes sapidus Postlarvae Megalopae Settlement Estuary Winds Mathematical model Salinity 

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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Dale Bishop
    • 1
  • Harlan L. MillerIII
    • 1
  • Randal L. Walker
    • 2
  • Dorset H. Hurley
    • 3
  • Theron Menken
    • 1
  • Charles E. Tilburg
    • 4
  1. 1.Marine Sciences DepartmentUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Marine Extension Service, 1030 Chicopee ComplexUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  3. 3.Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research ReserveSapelo IslandUSA
  4. 4.Department of Marine SciencesUniversity of New EnglandBiddefordUSA

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