Review History


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Summary

  • The initial submission of this article was received on November 1st, 2015 and was peer-reviewed by 2 reviewers and the Academic Editor.
  • The Academic Editor made their initial decision on December 12th, 2015.
  • The first revision was submitted on March 4th, 2017 and was reviewed by 1 reviewer and the Academic Editor.
  • A further revision was submitted on May 29th, 2017 and was reviewed by 1 reviewer and the Academic Editor.
  • A further revision was submitted on July 12th, 2017 and was reviewed by the Academic Editor.
  • The article was Accepted by the Academic Editor on July 22nd, 2017.

Version 0.4 (accepted)

· · Academic Editor

Accept

The authors have satisfactorily addressed the suggestions and modifications recommended from the last review process.

Version 0.3

· · Academic Editor

Minor Revisions

The new manuscript version will be ready for publication once the final minor comments (as per the attachment) are addressed. Please, I encouraged you to address the changes and re-submit a new revised manuscript.

Reviewer 2 ·

Basic reporting

Meets.

Experimental design

Meets.

Validity of the findings

Meets. See attached comments.

Comments for the author

Good paper, just minor comments which should be easy to address. See attached.

Version 0.2

· · Academic Editor

Major Revisions

Reviewer 2 has provided considerable suggestions to improve the manuscript. I encourage the authors to address all the comments carefully and re-submit a new version for assessment.

Reviewer 2 ·

Basic reporting

See attached comments.

Experimental design

See attached comments.

Validity of the findings

See attached comments.

Comments for the author

See attached comments.

Version 0.1 (original submission)

· · Academic Editor

Major Revisions

The reviewers found your work of interest, but they have raised points that need to be addressed before we can make a decision on publication. We therefore invite you to revise and resubmit your manuscript, taking into account all the points raised.

Reviewer 1 ·

Basic reporting

This article passes this basic reporting section. The authors did a very nice job introducing the oil spill disaster and the potential affects on the ecosystem. I background knowledge on the 2 species of interest were described and their importance in ecosystem health, function, and resilience came across clearly.

Experimental design

The research questions was clearly defined. The dataset is also extremely valuable to assess the health and function of the marsh ecosystems.

The data includes bi-annual sampling from 30-54 months after the spill to assess the health of 2 species in the marsh. I was a bit confused on the sampling procedure and some extra text should help clarify my confusion. 21 shoreline sampling stations were established in 2011, however sampling did not occur until Nov. 2012? Why the lapse in sampling once the sampling stations were established? Additionally, can you please clarify that sampling took place for 2 years ? You noted that sampling occurred at "various occasions" which makes sampling sound more hap-hazardous rather than following a strict experimental design plan. Please clarify.

The most concerned review comment I have is the proxy for Uca sampling. The authors state they sampled Uca burrows as a proxy for Uca abundance. This needs to be justified in more detail to support the author's decision to sample in this way. I agree that fiddler crabs are extremely difficult to capture and assess abundance measurements as they typically travel together and can dart back into the hole quickly. However, are Uca holes a good proxy for abundance? Can this be justified? It is easy to imagine that the number of holes may not be a good indicator of Uca abundance. These crabs may build multiple "homes", move locations leaving old home behind and building new, or share holes among many individuals. Please add a discussion for this choice in the methods section.

Validity of the findings

The findings appear to be sound, however some of the statistical analyses are not within the scope of my field.

Reviewer 2 ·

Basic reporting

The article needs to be revised to better demonstrate how the work fits into the broader field of knowledge. Some additional relevant prior work should be appropriately referenced. Some results need to be more thoroughly presented. See attached for specific comments addressing these points.

Experimental design

The article needs to be revised to more clearly define the study questions and the knowledge gaps being examined, including stating how the work contributes to addressing these. The article needs to be improved in places in terms of its rigor and technical standards, particularly in the areas of data analysis and interpretation. See attached for specific comments addressing these points.

Validity of the findings

The article needs improvements in the areas of data analysis, interpretation, and the conclusions being drawn in some cases. Some of the conclusions may not be entirely supported by the data and analyses. In places the article may wander from the main study questions being addressed, rather than focusing on the main findings and conclusions. See attached for specific comments addressing these points.

Comments for the author

The authors have created an important data set, however, the paper needs a good deal of work prior to publication. However, once the comments are considered and appropriate revisions made, this should be a nice paper, and it certainly warrants publication in the peer-reviewed literature. The lengthy comments provided (attached) are offered in assistance to the authors and journal; it is hoped they may help clarify and strengthen the manuscript. I would be happy to discuss my comments with the main author and would like to review the revised manuscript as well.

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