Date of Award

Spring 2005

Document Type

Legacy Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Marine Science


College of Science

First Advisor

Kevin S. Godwin


Since the species' discovery in 1802, various aspects of the sand fiddler crab (Uca pugilator) have been studied by scientists from a range of fields. Their distribution, reproductive behavior, foraging activity, and effect on marsh sediment and biogeochemistry have all been examined, but there is still little information on the effect of the surrounding environment on the placement and depth of burrows. This study examined the effect of sediment particle size, vegetative cover, porewater salinity and percent water weight on the depth and density of crab burrows. It was conducted along a transect perpendicular to a tidal creek in the marsh on Waites Island, South Carolina. The hypothesis was that as distance from the tidal creek increases (and the environmental factors change), fiddler crab burrow depth would increase. Strong relationships were found between burrow density and Spartina altemiflora cover, burrow depth and percent sand, burrow depth and percent water weight, and burrow density and percent water weight. No strong relationship between burrow depth and distance from the tidal creek was found, but more extensive research should be conducted to support this finding.