Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Marine Science Majors Conduct Field Research with Horseshoe Crab Census

22.05.2012
Wearing sneakers and rain boots, University of Delaware freshmen got their feet wet as marine biologists recently while counting horseshoe crabs along the Delaware Bay. The students participated in a monitoring effort to gain firsthand experience in field research with their fellow marine science majors.

“Where else can you go on a Saturday night to count horseshoe crabs?” freshman Will Goldman said.

After receiving training in April through the Delaware Bay Horseshoe Crab Spawning Survey, two dozen students gathered in the evening at the St. Jones Reserve in Dover and dispersed to nearby beaches with an experienced volunteer leading each group.

Thousands of horseshoe crabs lined the shores at high tide, congregating into clumps and slowly creeping along the sand in search of mates. The females lay small, round green eggs in the sand as males attach themselves to their backs for fertilization.

The students took a one-meter square made of PVC pipe and laid it on the sand at the “crab line” where the animals gathered, counting how many horseshoe crabs of each gender were within the quadrat. They repeated the process every 20 meters until they covered 1,000 meters of shoreline.

The data collected will be combined with counts from other locations taken in May and June at night during new and full moons, when horseshoe crabs swim onto beaches to breed. The first census in Delaware Bay was organized by Delaware Sea Grant in 1990 and now includes multiple organizations. The populations are studied in connection with fishing, pharmaceutical applications and shorebirds that rely on horseshoe crabs eggs for food during migration.

By volunteering with the project, students gain valuable field experience. At this early stage of their college careers, many students are enthusiastic about studying the ocean and sea life, but are not sure specifically how they will use their degrees.

Joanna York, undergraduate program coordinator with the School of Marine Science and Policy, said there are many options. Students go on to work at consulting firms and government agencies, attend graduate school, teach secondary education or even enroll in medical school.

“Our goal is to have the degree very well supported by the basic sciences because marine science – including marine biology and oceanography – is very interdisciplinary and it’s really hard to do marine science if you haven’t had a broad science background,” York said.

The marine science major was formally approved in February 2011, making this year’s freshmen the inaugural group to start in their first years. York teaches several colloquia classes on marine science to complement students’ studies in biology, chemistry, math and other requirements.

“My goal is to immediately get students involved in doing things not just in the classroom, not just reading books and sitting in classes, but immediately doing and seeing and experiencing it because that’s what marine science is,” York said. “That’s why most of these students want to be in this major is because they’re excited about those kinds of opportunities.”

For many of the students walking Delaware’s shores for the survey, counting the spawning horseshoe crab population was a first exposure to data collection in the field.

“I’ve never done anything like this before,” student Kayla Krenitsky said. “It’s pretty cool.”

To learn more about undergraduate offerings in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, visit this website.

To view the video with the story, visit http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2012/may/horseshoe-crab-count-051512.html

Andrea Boyle Tippett | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.udel.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>