Our research focuses on plastic and adaptive behavioral responses to environmental change and environmental stressors, in the context of the physiology and life history of the organism. Behavior represents the most rapid and flexible response available to an organism challenged by an environmental stressor. We are interested in (1) the fitness consequences of behavioral flexibility, (2) the trade-offs associated with behavioral decisions and the modulation of trade-offs by abiotic and biotic factors, and (2) the physiological drivers of behavior. Our work also has a strong applied focus, using behavioral and physiological ecology to address questions related to conservation and management of marine species.


2/28/20: The Craboratory was awarded a grant from Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant: Abundance, Distribution, and Fishing Mortality of the Mississippi Blue Crab Spawning Stock. Sampling will begin in April, 2020.

2/1/20: New paper just published in JEMBE: Darnell, M.Z., P.R.Y. Backwell, P. Munguia. 2020. Frequency and latency of autotomy of a sexually selected fiddler crab appendage. Full text available here.

12/19/19: We are recruiting an undergraduate student to work with us during Summer 2020, investigating fiddler crab behavior and thermal ecology. This 10-week, paid internship is based at GCRL but includes field work in FL, NC, and NY. More information is available here.

9/5/19: The Craboratory was awarded a grant from the National Geographic Society, Balancing risk vs. reward: thermal risk-taking behavior in the pursuit of mating opportunities in fiddler crabs, which will fund field work in Darwin, Australia in December.

7/3/2019: New paper just purchased in JEMBE: Thermal and desiccation constraints drive territory preference in fiddler crabs. Full text available here.

1/29/2019: The Craboratory would like to welcome new Ph.D. student Talene Yeghissian!

1/4/2019: New paper just published in Journal of Crustacean Biology: Elevated temperature induces a decrease in intermolt period and growth per molt in the lesser blue crab Callinectes similis Williams, 1966 (Decapoda: Brachyura: Portunidae). Full text available here.

Press coverage of our research: