Environmental Factors – FL Stone Crab

Habitat Loss, Restoration, and Freshwater Inflow

oil canalStone crabs inhabit different areas during stages of the life cycle, and these habitats may be altered by human activity. Larval and juvenile crabs rely on estuaries for cover. Wetlands are created by and maintained through nutrients and sediments transported to them by river systems; the damming,  channelization, and leveeing of rivers can affect the timing and flow of freshwater to a wetland estuary and greatly affect the composition of the habitat (Guillory, Perry, and VanderKooy 2001). Additionally,  the coast of Florida has experienced rapid development in the last 40 years. While coastal erosion is lower than some of the other Gulf States due to lower wave energy, hard structures have been installed in areas of high density development with the purpose of minimizing erosion (Morton et al. 2004). The influx of people seeking coastal properties has also resulted in habitat degradation due to dredge and fill activities (Lewis et al. 1985; Perry and VanderKooy 2015). Seagrasses are also an important habitat for stone crabs, especially juveniles and adults who burrow in the sediment. Egg bearing females can also be found in grass flats (Lindberg and Marshall 1984). Seagrass coverage has been reduced significantly in Flrodia over the last century due to antrophogenic activity (Carlson and Madley 2006). Activities such as coastal development, nutrient loads caused by humans, and hydrological modifications threaten estuarine and nearshore seagrass beds along the entire Florida gulf coast (Carlson and Madley 2006).



Previous: Stock Status                                                                                                    Next: Predation


Return to FL Stone Crab

Download the Audubon Gulf Seafood Guide mobile app:
Click here for the app tutorial on YouTube.
Sponsored and coordinated by Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission.
Authorized by the five Gulf state marine resource management agencies.
NOAA Award #NA10NMF4770481.