Thomas Library

Honors Thesis Archive

Author Madison Moon
Title Impact of Temperature and Salinity on Juvenile Blue Crab Growth Rates
Department Biology & Marine Science
Advisors Matthew Collier, Richard Phillips, and Michael. Zaleha
Year 2014
Honors University Honors
Full Text View Thesis (375 KB)
Abstract Surveys conducted by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department found that size of mature blue crabs, Calinectes sapidus, varies geographically along the Texas coast. It has been observed that size at maturity decreases with decreasing latitude. Decreasing latitude in Texas is correlated with both increasing temperatures and increasing salinities; thus, these results suggest that temperature and salinity may impact blue crab growth rates. The purpose of this experiment was to examine the effects of temperature and salinity on the growth rates of blue crabs throughout their first six juvenile stages of development. Blue crab megalopae, which is the final larvae stage, were collected from University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) research pier. Each megalopa was introduced to one of two temperature treatments (20°C or 30°C) and one of three salinity treatments (3 ppt, 10 ppt, or 30 ppt). Crabs were measured following each molt, up to the 6th juvenile stage. 30°C crabs had a fast growth rate, reaching the 6th juvenile stage in an average of 21.8 days. On the other hand, the 20°C crabs had a much slower growth rate, only reaching the 4th juvenile stage by the conclusion of the experiment. Overall, this study suggests that higher temperatures may speed up the molting process in blue crabs.

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