Renae Brodie


  • Professor of Biological Sciences on the Alumnae Foundation
  • Chair of Biological Sciences
Renae Brodie

Renae Brodie is an ecological physiologist who investigates the reproductive and larval biology of crabs. Brodie's research interests include Behavior, Development, and Ecophysiology of Terrestrial Crabs. Currently, she is studying fiddler crabs along the Atlantic coast, where she has established field sites from Massachusetts to Georgia to test hypotheses about how temperature and other factors― like population density, food supply and pollution―impact survival and reproduction. She is also interested in a species of fiddler crab that inhabits low salinity and freshwater tidal streams during its adult phase but undergoes larval development in the sea. She and her students are solving the mystery of how this species survives radical changes in salinity regimes during its lifecycle and uses environmental cues to determine the suitability of potential settlement habitats. Ultimately, insights from these projects will allow Renae, her students, and collaborators to predict how the health and geographic ranges of fiddler crab populations will shift as the planet’s climate continues to change.

Postdoctoral Training: Smithsonian (Marine Station/Tropical Research Institute), 2000-2002


  • Biology 150: Introductory Biology  (fall)
  • Biology 315: Behavioral Ecology (spring)
  • Biology 321: Race and Biology
  • Biology 326: Ocean Blues

Areas of Expertise



  • Ph.D., Dept. of Zoology, Univ. of Washington
  • B.A., Aquatic Biology, UC Santa Barbara

Happening at Mount Holyoke

Recent Campus News

In what has become a signature College tradition, four Mount Holyoke faculty members were honored for their scholarship and teaching at a March 2 ceremony.

Mount Holyoke’s Elizabeth Markovits and Renae Brodie tackle the pros and cons of the modular system.

Recent Grants

Renae Brodie received supplemental funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for RUI: Exploring range limits in the fiddler crab Uca pugnax using the Dynamic Energy Budget approach. 

Recent Publications

Brodie, R., Chery, M., Habiba, U., Pradhan, A., 2023. Rising surface temperatures lead to more frequent and longer burrow retreats in males of the fiddler crab, Minuca pugnax. JOURNAL OF THERMAL BIOLOGY 116.

Hews, S., Allen, Z.., Baxter, A., Rich, J.,  Sheikh, Z.  Taylor, K. Wu, J., Zakoul, H. and R. Brodie. (2021). Field based body temperatures reveal the thermoregulatory behaviors of the Atlantic Marsh Crab, Minuca pugnax. PLoS ONE 16(1), e0244458.

Brodie R., *B. Roberts , *J. Espinosa, *K. Heilman , S. Borgianini, J. Welch , K. Reinsel. 2017. Seasonal and latitudinal variations in the energy reserves of the mud fiddler crab Uca pugnax: implications for the response to climate change. Aquatic Biology 26:113-123.
*indicates undergraduate coauthor

Styles, R., S. Borgianini, R. Brodie, J. Jurisa. (2014) Application of a particle transport model in the vicinity of a riverine tidal boundary. Journal of Coastal Sciences 1(2): 1-10.

View More