“It’s taking them longer to go from oyster spat to oyster adult,” said Luke Dodd, a doctoral candidate at UNC who put the crabs in a tank with oysters. “When you’re a baby, there’s tons of predators that want to eat you up.”
But when they put mud crabs and oysters together in the tanks polluted with carbon, Dodd, Michael F. Piehler of UNC and Jonathan Grabowski of Northeastern University observed something they didn’t expect, a response that gave oysters a prayer.
Under conditions with lower levels of carbon, two mud crabs polished off 20 oysters in six hours. But in the aquariums with higher levels of carbon, the mud crabs seemed confused.