Hello, week 3 is now coming to an end which also marks the end of an eventful week. For my research this week, I completed my first trial that tests my research question, how does the availability of alternative food influence cannibalism in Dungeness crabs? This first trial contained five replicas of a bucket filled with 96 ounces of water, five juvenile crabs, and about five grams of mussel. This trial is designed to test that mussels are a food source that the crabs could survive on. The reason behind doing five trials and starting them at the same time, is to increase our chances of getting consistent results and not have them be because of ‘random chance’. Within the five replicas, I made sure to keep the subjects consistent as well. By this I mean that all juveniles used ranged between 13 cm to 17 cm in carapace width and all mussels were similar in size and weighed five grams. After 4 days of observations, two of my treatments had crabs that ate all the mussel provided, two other treatments had crabs that almost ate the mussel completely and the last one had a mussel that was not touched at all by the crabs. In the end, treatments 1, 2 and 3 all had a crab who molted, treatment 2 had one crab who was missing one leg and lastly treatment 3 had a crab that was missing three of its legs! Since both of those treatments were also the same ones that a molt in them, my hypothesis is that the crabs who lost their legs were the ones who molted as well. When a crab molts, their exoskeleton is soft making them vulnerable which could have lead to other juveniles taking advantage of this and possibly tried to eat the crab, leading to their missing legs. The next trial that I will be starting will be five replicas that contain 5 juveniles and 20 megalopae. This replica will be testing the cannibalistic behavior of the juvenile crabs.
This past weekend, the other interns and I went camping Saturday night at Cape Argo. This was my first time camping ever, so going into it I did not know what to expect. What I liked most but also seemed odd to me at the same time was that the campsite was right next to a beach! As a first time camper, when I thought of camping, I pictured us sleeping with wildlife and being lost in nature. But I’m happy to say that wasn’t the case and I had a great time. Early next morning, we all went tide pooling at South Cove. We found lots of Gumboot Chiton and Sea Urchins! The tide pools here in Oregon are filled with so much more marine life than tide pools from Southern California. This week was also fourth of July, so everyone at OIMB, interns, students and faculty, attended a picnic down at Sunset Bay. There was lots of delicious food and I ate oysters for my first and possibly last time. Something about the rubbery texture it had as I ate it did not make it seem as appetizing when I was curious to try them. I also participated in the annual OIMB 4th of July Egg Toss. I played twice and placed top 4 both times!
My name is Juan Flores and I am an intern in Alan Shanks’ lab. I am from a small city in the Los Angeles County, Pico Rivera, California. I will be transferring to the University of California, Santa Cruz in the Fall, pursuing a Bachelors in Biology.