Marine Biology

, Volume 153, Issue 6, pp 1055–1064 | Cite as

Effects of macroalgal structural complexity on nearshore larval and post-larval crab composition

  • Benjamin DalyEmail author
  • Brenda Konar
Research Article


Larval and post-larval crab distribution was surveyed in three different habitats in Kachemak Bay, Alaska to determine temporal and spatial variability. Distribution varied temporally and spatially from June 2005 to September 2006. Nine sites of varying habitat complexity were surveyed monthly using scuba surveys and light traps to measure habitat variables and quantify crab zoeae and megalopae. A total of 10,016 crabs belonging to seven families were identified. Four species comprised the majority (97%) of the total crab assemblages and included Cancer oregonensis, Fabia subquadrata, Telmessus cheiragonus, and Pugettia gracilis. Peak abundances occurred in summer but varied on small temporal scales with species. No single bay-wide variable determined the appearance of all species. Depending on species, appearance may be influenced by seasonality of environmental variables. Spatially, highest abundances occurred in habitats with less structural complexity. Spatial differences in crab abundance may have resulted from variability on large scale physical transport mechanisms and not kelp-mediated flow alterations.


Canopy Density Mooring Line Sand Site Canopy Site Canopy Kelp 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank T. Shirley and G. Eckert for reviews on this manuscript, J. Markis for help in the field, M. and C. Geagle at the Kasitnsa Bay Lab for logistical support, S. Pegau, S. Evans, N. Harman, E. Daly, and C. Debenham for additional field support. We also thank the National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) System and the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center (PCCRC) for their financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, Seward Marine CenterUniversity of Alaska FairbanksSewardUSA
  2. 2.School of Fisheries and Ocean SciencesUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA

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