A male fiddler crab (Uca panacea) sits inside an experimental mesocosm that investigated crude oil impacts. Credit: M.E. Franco, University of Louisiana, Lafayette.

Study Finds Oil Impacts on Fiddler Crabs May Also Affect Broader Marsh Health

Scientists conducted mesocosm experiments to explore how crude oil affects marsh-dwelling fiddler crabs, classified as ecosystem engineers or bioturbators. The researchers tested impacts of various oil concentrations to mimic light (L) to heavy (H) oiling scenarios, with fiddler crabs experiencing more acute impacts at higher oil concentrations and less at lower concentrations.

Study Uses Fiddler Crabs and Periwinkle Snails to Monitor Long-Term Marsh Health after Oil Spill

Researchers in Florida and Louisiana extended a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) of fiddler crabs and periwinkle snails after the Deepwater Horizon incident to assess marsh recovery from oiling. The team found that fiddler crabs, the more mobile of the two species, had mostly recovered by 30 months in terms of size, density, and species composition.