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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Recovery of the terrestrial crab Cardisoma carnifex after burrow disturbance

Creative Commons 'BY-SA' version 3.0 license

The importance of disturbance ecology grows as pristine habitat becomes increasingly encroached upon by land use change. This study focuses on the behavior of the burrowing terrestrial crabCardisoma carnifex(Herbst 1794) on the island of Moorea after its semi-permanent burrow was disrupted. In the first manipulation, a set of four disturbance treatments was applied to burrows in sand and dirt substrate to examine recovery time. The second manipulation increased the intensity of the disturbance to see if the crabs’ strategies change. The results showed a significant increase in recovery time with the intensity of disturbance in dirt substrates, but not in sand. There was also a significant combined effect of treatment and substrate type on recovery. The second set of data showed the same set of recovery strategies even as the disturbances were more intense. This shows that these crabs can restore their burrows in relatively low levels of disturbance, but it remains to be seen how they and other species cope with larger scale influences such as urbanization.

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