Experimental Tropical Marine Ecology

Jellyfish Attack!
by -- March 7th, 2012

Day 4 (March 6, 2012)

Today we started out early to do labwork with the apparatus we had set up the day before for our crabs (See below for a picture). This time we added a chemical odor to each end of the pipe channels in the apparatus; dead snails (from which they acquire shells), algae (representing food and shelter), dead hermit crab (conspecific cue to swap shells), and fish meat (to represent a predator). We ran the experiment with all of our hermit crabs (198, we missed a cup during collecting and had an escapee) and unfortunately had results that were not significant. However we hope to sort them by size next and see significance within certain sizes. If not we will alter our apparatus and redo them.

The apparatus for our volatile chemical cues experiment

After lunch we headed out on another bone conditioning boat ride (a few of us compared the feeling to horse riding for the inexperienced) to the mangroves in Solarte. We whipped out our snorkel gear and excitedly got in…maybe with a bit too much excitement as some fins disturbed the jellyfish garden. Suddenly they lifted off the bottom and to sting the offender in several places (Sorry Abbie L). Everyone cleared out and climbed back in the boat and this time looked out and noticed just how many white blobs were sitting at the bottom in the Thalassia beds. Time to find a new location.

Looking at specimen in the Solarte mangroves.

At the second site there was much more hesitation as no one was willing to get stung. Dr. Diaz asked me to take some pictures of the bottom with the underwater camera off the side of the boat to see if there were any present. I didn’t see any. I then surprised everyone making a splash by promptly diving in. I was fine and proved that there were no harmful stingers around.

One of the mangrove roots I investigated for my independent study.

People swam around exploring what creatures were present while Shannon and I set to work collecting data for our independent study. I ventured off towards the mangrove roots but unfortunately could not juggle all the stuff I was carrying and ended up with my hands tied together with orange labeling tape. If Abbie hadn’t been nearby to rescue me I would have made myself into a neon orange mummy. After a tiring day of data collection, snorkeling and jellyfish we were quite ready to take a shower, enjoy Chef Rudolfo’s delicious cooking and relaaaaaax.


  1. Shirley Campbell
    Mar 9, 2012

    I am all excited for you. I just took the opportunity to read the other entries. Do continue to combine learning and fun.

    Please let me know if I can pass this on to a couple of persons.

    Much love…an MJ

  2. Shirley Campbell
    Mar 9, 2012


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