Let the games begin

This week is a great week of low tides, great for field sampling. In addition to the sulfide seep, I decided to sample a “clean” site further along Ruston Way. At this site, to sample the rocks at tidal height I had to muck around in the water. That’s when I realized something important– my left boot leaks. Boy, was that water cold. Luckily the right one wasn’t leaking too. Like a trooper, I trudged on.

The pouch on this crab's (Lophopahopeus bellus) body holds barnacle nauplii.

Back in the lab, I seem to be playing a game with the crabs that I collect. I call it No Pinch. The crabs call it Pinch. As hard as I try to not get pinched, the crabs try to pinch me. I thought I was winning. I was wrong. I had the first crab in my palm and I was measuring it’s carapace. When I looked away to write down the measurement, it pinched me! The score is Crabs-2, Me-0. Interestingly enough, the crab that managed to pinch me has been parasitized by barnacles. Maybe that’s why she pinched me.

I’ve noticed that this species of crab, Lophopanopeus bellus, is feistier than oregonensis. That is why, when I encountered this guy, I was more cautious when picking him up. He has a pretty strong grip. Thank goodness he wasn’t able to latch onto my finger!

I haven’t started on the lab experiments yet; I have to get some tanks and stuff built. Here’s the concept though: one is a habitat choice tank that will provide high sulfide water and low sulfide water where crabs can choose which they prefer. The other is essentially racing a crab down a lane after being exposed to(or not exposed to) sulfide water to measure activity. Sounds like fun, eh?

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