An evaluation of the synchronization in the dynamics of blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) populations in the western Atlantic
Colton, Amanda Rae
Miller, Thomas J
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Blue crab populations along the east coast of the United States are known to fluctuate in size annually. Previously, the degree of coherence in abundance between these populations was unknown. My research used a combination of fishery-dependent and fishery-independent data to quantify the amount of synchrony among blue crab populations and to determine the mechanisms that drive abundance fluctuations. This was done by first fitting catch-survey models to time series of survey abundance and catch to obtain absolute abundance estimates. Subsequently, I used multivariate techniques to quantify the extent and pattern of synchronization. I found that a latitudinal pattern among blue crab populations exists among all the regions except Chesapeake Bay, which appeared to be anomalous. A combination of larval mixing in the coastal ocean and a Moran effect appear to be drivers of the synchrony among blue crab populations although more investigation into these mechanisms is needed.