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Human impacts on marine organisms

A large and growing proportion of the human population lives along and vacations in coastal regions. My lab studies human influences on a range of coastal ecosystems, focusing on crab species that are used as bioindicators of human impacts on these ecosystems. We measure changes in behavior and physiology in individual crabs that result in altered growth and reproduction. Recent and ongoing work in this area has examined changes in social interactions between sand fiddler crabs in South Carolina with increasing levels of urbanization around salt marshes, and changes in morphology and physiology of ghost crabs on the South Carolina sandy beaches with increasing levels of tourism (see graph below).