Ghost crab burrow density at Watamu Marine National Park: An indicator of the impact of urbanisation and associated disturbance?
Ghost crab (Ocypode species) burrow densities have previously been used as an indicator of anthropogenic impact. This study aimed to assess the burrow density of Ocypode species (O. ryderi and O. cordimanus) at four sites across Watamu Marine National Park, Kenya. Two sites were in front of hotel complexes (denoting a high degree of urbanisation), and two were in front of residential housing among coastal scrub (denoting a low degree of urbanisation). The findings reveal significantly higher burrow densities at sites in front of residential housing, which was the less developed area. This provides further evidence that Ocypode burrow densities can be used, where other methods would be impractical, to estimate the impact of some human activities along beach fronts, such as at Watamu Marine National Park.
Keywords: anthropogenic factors, exposed sandy beach, hotel sites, marine protected area, Ocypode, residential environment