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Professor Robert Steneck started researching lobsters in 1983 and was one of the first people to explore the ecosystems of lobsters in their natural habitat, which, given lobsters’ solitary and cautious nature, is no easy task.

He gives listeners the opportunity to see this hidden world up close, discussing

  • How remarkable the mating habits of these chitin-encased crustaceans are,
  • How this ecosystem passenger’s current habits reveal changing characteristics of the Maine coast marine ecosystem, and
  • What fisheries report as current lobster catching status and why.

Robert Steneck is a professor in the School of Marine Sciences at The University of Maine. He studies marine ecology as well as the importance of marine ecosystems to those who depend on them for their livelihood. While his studies include many aspects of ocean life and nature, he has an especially long history studying the Maine lobster population.

He first gives the audience a helpful picture for how lobster fisheries and scientists have viewed the Maine populations the last several decades. In fact, when he begin observing and recording data in the 80s, popular thought held that lobsters numbers were declining. He showed that the population actually was increasing from 1985 until 2016.

Now, climate change is changing lobster habits, and he and his students are involved in assessing this more carefully. He describes the effects warmer water seems to have on mating ages of lobsters as well as the lower oxygen numbers in the water from these same higher temperatures and rotting invasive seaweed. Along the way, however, he gives listeners an interesting glimpse into these ancient creatures’ habits and activities, from the capacity to live about a hundred years to their ability to excise a claw for protection.

He adds interesting details about their mating life, including the facility of a female to hold onto part of a sperm packet and fertilize a second batch of eggs a year or two after mating. He also describes what it is like to observe these creatures while SCUBA diving, how they use submersibles and recording devices, and what they’ve studied this past summer regarding lobsters no longer using their hiding nooks and crannies in underwater rock formations.

Listen in to hear about this timely study and more amazing details about a day in the life of a lobster.

For more about Robert Steneck’s work, he suggests searching for him in Google scholar.

Available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/2Os0myK

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