Campus News

Director of Georgia Marine Institute discusses purple marsh crabs’ effect on marsh landscapes

Merryl Alber, director of the University of Georgia Marine Institute on Sapelo Island, was recently quoted in a Scientific American article about the impact of grazing purple marsh crabs on marsh landscapes.

Alber said researchers already realized Sesarma crabs were broadening tidal creeks by means of grazing cordgrass, but recent research now suggests these creatures might be encouraging “the long-term loss of the marsh to rising seas.”

“This shows that our marshes may be more vulnerable than we thought,” she said.

The article discusses the effects of human activities on ecosystems, particularly through the lens of the purple marsh crab.