Other New England dieback sites

Connecticut vs. Cape Cod dieback
Areas of vegetation loss in Connecticut (left-side) vs. Cape Cod (right-side) (photos by Smith, NPS)

While extensive areas of high marsh dieback have not yet been discovered outside of Cape Cod, low marsh losses have occurred at numerous sites in Connecticut and Long Island, NY.

The patterns of loss are visually identical to those on Cape Cod that we now know to be the result of Sesarma crab herbivory (studies led by Dr. Mark Bertness).

<click for enlarged photo above>

Sesarma crab in CT marsh
Sesarma reticulatum (purple marsh crabs) were easy to find at this Connecticut marsh dieback site in May 2008 (Neck River, Madison) (photo by Smith, NPS).  Could these crabs also be responsible for vegetation losses at other sites along the southern New England coast?

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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