Faculty Member’s Research on Land Crabs Published

Research by Meredith Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Erin Lindquist has been published. The paper, "Land Crabs as Key Drivers in Tropical Coastal Forest Recruitment" was published in Cambridge University Philosophical Society's "Biological Reviews."

Lindquist's research was also recently featured on mongabay.com, an environmental science and conservation news web site that gets more than 1 million unique visitors per month.

Lindquist's paper is a review of research that has been conducted around the world on the effect of crabs on coastal forests. Lindquist wrote it with five colleagues from the United States and Australia who have research sites in locations including Florida, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Australia and Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.

"We work on three different types of coastal forests including terrestrial ones (not inundated by the tide) on mainlands and islands, and mangroves (inundated by the tide)," Lindquist explained.

The research shows that land crabs have a major effect on the survival and growth of tree seedlings.

According to Lindquist, the reason is that the crabs' "population densities are so high in the coastal forests and they eat the seeds and seedlings of many of the tree species. The crabs are native to these forests and we've found they are an integral component of the ecosystems that can't be ignored in conservation efforts to restore these threatened forests."

Lindquist joined Meredith's faculty in 2006. Her research focuses on forest ecology.

Date Submitted: 2009-07-14

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