Ecologist works to sustain South Carolina’s blue crabs

By Peter Kent

Blue Crab

To protect the future of the blue crab population, scientists have developed a comprehensive computer model that analyzes how changes in crab behavior, water quality and fishing pressure affect the crustaceans.

Clemson ecologist Michael Childress and colleagues from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and the Sea Grant Consortium created the model, known as the South Carolina Blue Crab Regional Abundance Biotic Simulation (SCBCRABS).

It follows the fate of individual blue crabs from the time they arrive in the marsh as juveniles until they migrate offshore as adults. The model is easy to use and can be viewed at

Childress’s research seeks to understand the importance of behavioral variability in the commercial success of blue crabs, lobsters and crayfish. These species are experiencing a rapid decline in the quality of their natural habitats. His goal is to help them to survive in our quickly changing environment until sustainable solutions can be found for the loss of critical habitat.

For information: Michael Childress, 864-656-6198,