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Revisiting the population of the Ghost Crab, Ocypode cursor, on the sandy beaches of northern Cyprus after two decades: are there causes for concern?

Revisiting the population of the Ghost Crab, Ocypode cursor, on the sandy beaches of northern Cyprus after two decades: are there causes for concern?
Revisiting the population of the Ghost Crab, Ocypode cursor, on the sandy beaches of northern Cyprus after two decades: are there causes for concern?
As a key ecological link in food webs of sandy beaches, ghost crabs (Decapoda: Brachyura) are important for the maintenance of sandy beach ecosystems due to their scavenger properties in temperate and tropical regions. A baseline study of Ocypode cursor had been carried out at Alagadi beach in northern Cyprus in 1994 and in order to address concerns that the species may be in decline on the island, the population was re-assessed over nine weeks during summer 2017. To enable comparison of data, standardised, indirect methods were used to determine population parameters such as burrow size, population size, distribution and density. Results indicated a significant, six-fold decline in population size. Average burrow densities in our study was up to 0.05 burrows/m2 in the general crab zone, while Strachan et al. (1999) had recorded up to 0.67 burrows/m2. Possible reasons or factors causing such effects were considered such as invasive pufferfishes Lagocephalus sceleratus and Torquigener flavimaculosus from the Red Sea, climate change in terms of warming sea water and air temperatures and increases in extreme weather conditions such as windiness, and anthropogenic in- terventions such as human trampling and effects of increase in urbanisation. The man- agement of sandy beaches and conservation of these species is urgent to re-stabilize the populations of O. cursor on the beaches of northern Cyprus.
Crustacea, Mediterranean, anthropogenic change, intertidal ecology, sandy beaches
0939-7140
132-139
Barakalı, Dilber
c16d16a9-e3c9-4d1b-924a-105eee7a236c
Snaddon, Jake L.
31a601f7-c9b0-45e2-b59b-fda9a0c5a54b
Snape, Robin T. E.
3a4d5270-721d-43c4-a823-ca56848db688
Barakalı, Dilber
c16d16a9-e3c9-4d1b-924a-105eee7a236c
Snaddon, Jake L.
31a601f7-c9b0-45e2-b59b-fda9a0c5a54b
Snape, Robin T. E.
3a4d5270-721d-43c4-a823-ca56848db688

Barakalı, Dilber, Snaddon, Jake L. and Snape, Robin T. E. (2020) Revisiting the population of the Ghost Crab, Ocypode cursor, on the sandy beaches of northern Cyprus after two decades: are there causes for concern? Zoology in the Middle East, 66 (2), 132-139. (doi:10.1080/09397140.2020.1729556).

Record type: Article

Abstract

As a key ecological link in food webs of sandy beaches, ghost crabs (Decapoda: Brachyura) are important for the maintenance of sandy beach ecosystems due to their scavenger properties in temperate and tropical regions. A baseline study of Ocypode cursor had been carried out at Alagadi beach in northern Cyprus in 1994 and in order to address concerns that the species may be in decline on the island, the population was re-assessed over nine weeks during summer 2017. To enable comparison of data, standardised, indirect methods were used to determine population parameters such as burrow size, population size, distribution and density. Results indicated a significant, six-fold decline in population size. Average burrow densities in our study was up to 0.05 burrows/m2 in the general crab zone, while Strachan et al. (1999) had recorded up to 0.67 burrows/m2. Possible reasons or factors causing such effects were considered such as invasive pufferfishes Lagocephalus sceleratus and Torquigener flavimaculosus from the Red Sea, climate change in terms of warming sea water and air temperatures and increases in extreme weather conditions such as windiness, and anthropogenic in- terventions such as human trampling and effects of increase in urbanisation. The man- agement of sandy beaches and conservation of these species is urgent to re-stabilize the populations of O. cursor on the beaches of northern Cyprus.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 8 February 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 18 February 2020
Published date: 2 April 2020
Additional Information: Funding Information: The authors thank the Society for Protection of Turtles (SPOT) for providing equipment that facilitated this research. Publisher Copyright: © 2020, © 2020 Taylor & Francis.
Keywords: Crustacea, Mediterranean, anthropogenic change, intertidal ecology, sandy beaches

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 441795
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/441795
ISSN: 0939-7140
PURE UUID: bd9da57e-add7-4799-8c79-dd5ed8d9c1a8
ORCID for Jake L. Snaddon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3549-5472

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Date deposited: 26 Jun 2020 16:45
Last modified: 16 Sep 2022 01:46

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Contributors

Author: Dilber Barakalı
Author: Jake L. Snaddon ORCID iD
Author: Robin T. E. Snape

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