Renae Brodie

Professor of Biological Sciences; Chair of Neuroscience and Behavior

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

Selected Publications

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.

Staton J.L., Borgianini S.A., Gibson I.B., Brodie R.J., Greig T.W. 2014. Limited gene flow in Uca minax (LeConte 1855) along a linear estuary.Central European Journal of Biology. 9(1):28-36.

Borgianini, S., Styles, R., Brodie, R. 2012. A simple model of megalopal transport in narrow-river dominated estuaries. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 452:179-191.

Brodie, R., R. Styles, S. Borgianini, J. Godley, and *K. Butler. 2007. Larval mortality during export to the sea in the fiddler crab, Uca minax (Le Conte, 1855). Marine Biology. 152(6): 1283-1291.

Godley, J. and R. Brodie. 2007. The effect of summer storms on early life stages of Uca minaxU. pugnax and U. pugilator in North Inlet Estuary, SC, USA. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 342:197-204.

Brodie, R. 2005. Desiccation resistance in the land hermit crab postlarva: ontogenetic changes in water loss rate and the role of the shell. Invertebrate Biology 124:265-272.

Behum, M and R. Brodie. 2005. Distribution of juvenile Uca pugnaxand Uca pugilator across habitats in a South Carolina Estuary. Marine Ecology Progress Series 288: 211-220.

Brodie, R., M. Behum, *E. Monroe, J. Staton and N. Glenn. 2005. Recruitment to adult habitats following marine planktonic development in the in the fiddler crabs Uca pugilator, Uca pugnaxand Uca minaxMarine Biology 147: 105-111.

Brodie, R. 2002. Timing of the water-to-land transition and metamorphosis in the land hermit crab Coenobita compressus H. Milne Edwards: evidence that settlement and metamorphosis are de-coupled. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol. 272:1-11.

Brodie, R. and A. Harvey. 2001. Development of the terrestrial hermit crab, Coenobita compressus, in the laboratory. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 21(3):715-732.

Brodie, R. 1999. Ontogeny of shell-related behaviors and transition to land in the terrestrial hermit crab, Coenobita compressus (Crustacea: Coenobitidae). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol. 241: 67-80.

Hunt, J., R. Brodie, T. Carithers, P. Goldstein, and D. Janzen. 1999. Dry season migration by Costa Rican lowland paper wasps to high elevation cold dormancy sites. Biotropica 31(1):192-196.

Brodie, R. 1998. Movements of the terrestrial hermit crab, Coenobita clypeatus (Crustacea: Coenobitidae). Rev. Biol. Trop., 46 Supl. (4):181-185.