University of Louisiana at Lafayette
In the northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) is a keystone species in salt marshes and supports a $50M/yr. fishery. Populations of blue crabs depend on recruitment of larvae that are spawned offshore where they are planktonic for a month or two before returning to coastal waters and metamorphosing into juvenile crabs. It is not known how far blue crab larvae are typically carried by currents, so the extent to which populations are self-sustaining versus dependent on other sources of larvae is also unknown.
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