Laura Carrier - Crab Lab

St. Mary's College of Maryland, St. Mary's City, MD

Laura (second from right) is showing sample specimens

from the fish weir to interns from the Smithsonian's National

Museum of Natural History, National Zoo, Center for

Research Conservation.


As an intern in the Fish and Invertebrate Lab (Crab Lab), I am studying the juvenile blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus). I am working to find a short-term tag that remains on a crab's carapace until it molts and a long-term tag that remains through a crab's most. The development of a fast and inexpensive tag is a challenge and has been the limiting factor in furthering out knowledge about the life history of the blue crab. After determining the most successful tagging procedure, I will conduct release and recapture experiments to learn how fast crabs will move from a dispersal site and whether they prefer a specific structure as a habitat. I will release the tagged crabs into bare sediment, artificial sea grass beds, oyster reefs, riprap, and coarse woody debris and recapture them at a set time period afterwards using caissons (large metal boxes set upon the habitat that traps all organisms inside), and a seine net. These preliminary experiments are part of a large study in conjunction with the Center of Marine Biotechnology in Baltimore, MD. 

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