My first semester of Conservation of Marine Resources CI is in the books, and it was pretty great. Being the only new member of the lab (at least for half the semester), I wasn’t sure what to expect. Everyone else was used to the weekly lab meetings and knew all about the research being done, so I was a bit behind the rest. It didn’t take long to get caught up to speed, though. I quickly got used to doing animal care each week, and through the lab meetings I learned a ton about parrotfish and their potential impacts on corals. While getting adjusted to all this, I also got to work on research with the spiny lobsters. Ashley and I began researching the den sharing behaviors of spiny lobsters collected from the Keys, observing to what degree they choose to share dens together by placing two lobsters together in the cattle tank overnight. We also took GoPro videos of them to record interactions they had, observing their social and aggressive behaviors. From these experiments, plus more we carry out next semester, we hope to find results that could give insight on factors that affect the den sharing behaviors of lobsters, and that can also help explain why lobster attraction is decreasing.
Getting to be a part of this research has been great, but another reason I enjoyed this semester so much was getting to know everyone in the lab. They welcomed me in like the little brother Randi never had, and I quickly was given the nickname Tommy Boy and the crane as my spirit animal. I got to have many good experiences with them, like going diving in Lake Jocassee and going to the Georgia Aquarium with Kylie, Randi, and Abby. From passing the friendship rock underwater to taking blood samples of lobsters, I made many good memories this semester, and I look forward to the experiences to come!