In Dr.Shanks' lab, myself and one other intern are working on two projects involving larval recruitment rates. What this means is that the lab is investigating the rate that the larvae of Balanus sp. (barnacles, the larval stage of which is called a cyprid) and Cancer magister (Dungeness crabs, more on their life cycle later) settle in an area. While the methods of the two projects are dissimilar, the intention of both is to determine whether larval recruitment follows a set pattern, such as that of the tidal cycle or larger atmospheric conditions.
|Myself (on left) and Kaylynne (my fellow intern) emptying the light trap. Photo taken by |
Sol Guerrero Ortiz.
This first week, we were trained to complete surveys on both the organisms in question, counting the number of cyprids to settle on three permanent grid plates installed on rocks at Bastendorff beach, near Charleston, and surveying the numbers of organisms caught within a device known as a light trap, located in the marina adjacent to OIMB. The light trap is composed of a large clear plastic jug with a light suspended within and funnel-shaped entrances, much like a crab pot. A cod end (a sea water filter with mesh small enough to retain zooplankton [animal plankton] within the sample) screws on to the base of the trap. Both devices are checked daily. Next post, I'll talk about the life cycle of the Dungeness crab and how samples from the light trap are quantified.