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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Impacts on Salt Marsh Fiddler Crabs (Uca spp.)

Scott Zengel , Steven C. Pennings, Brian Silliman, Clay Montague, Jennifer Weaver, Donald R. Deis, Michelle O. Krasnec, Nicolle Rutherford, Zachary Nixon


February 5, 2016
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the largest marine oil spill in US waters to date and one of the largest worldwide. Impacts of this spill on salt marsh vegetation have been well documented, although impacts on marsh macroinvertebrates have received less attention. To examine impacts of the oil spill on an important marsh invertebrate and ecosystem engineer, the researchers conducted a meta-analysis on fiddler crabs (Uca spp.) using published sources and newly available Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) and Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) data.

Given the spatial and temporal extent of data analyzed, this article provides compelling evidence that the Deepwater Horizon spill suppressed populations of fiddler crabs in oiled marshes, likely affecting other ecosystem attributes, including marsh productivity, marsh soil characteristics, and associated predators.
North America