Student shares details of marine biology work - PineCreek Journal

Student shares details of marine biology work

Tuesday, August 27, 2019 | 10:41 AM

As students head back to school, they’re sharing stories of what they did over summer break. Many Pine-Richland staff and students have unique stories of volunteering their time to special causes and even learning about various career field whether it be local or via programs around the world.

Sophomore Abby Lane is one of those students. This summer she traveled to Maine and Massachusetts. While in Maine, she had the opportunity to participate in the Marine Encounter Program in Kennebunk.

Ultimately, Abby would like to pursue a career in marine biology.  What better way to learn about her experience is to hear from Abby. Luckily, she is sharing her story in which she entitled it “A Coastal Encounter.”

A Coastal Encounter

“Slimy Is The New Fuzzy: A Coastal Encounter –  Discovering Life between the Tides.”
By Abby Lane, 
Friday, July 26 in Kennebunk, ME

When the Coastal Encounter began I dove right in with my buckets and nets. The rocks were super slippery. Our guide Coastal Carol taught us to hold onto the anchored seaweed which acts like a rope around the rocks so you don’t slip and fall. I lifted up shells and rocks. My first find was a Green Crab. He was tiny and reddish-brown and probably only the size of a quarter. Since he was so tiny I could just lay him in my hand without his pinchers hurting me. Later on, I found an enormous Asian Shore Crab. His claws were huge! To hold a crab properly, first, make a C shape with your hand, then grab the crab by both sides. 

Most crabs aren’t the same color as their name.  Green Crab can be green, orange, red or brown. To tell whether it’s a Green Crab, count the spikes on the side of the crab. There should be five on each side. There are five letters in the word green. An Asian Shore Crab usually has stripes on its body. Another way to tell is if it has three spikes on each side of its eye socket. Rock Crabs have nine spikes on each side of its body. Female pregnant crabs lay hundreds of thousands of eggs and hold them on their underbelly until there ready to hatch. Sadly only five to 10 make it to adulthood.

Most finds are under big rocks. I flipped over a big rock and out crawled a 5” American Lobster! To hold a lobster is like holding an ice cream cone. Take your dominant hand and wrap your four fingers around the lobster tail, then tuck your thumb over top your fingers. To tell whether it is male or female, turn the lobster over and look for the first pair of tail appendages which also look like two small “Vs” shaped sticks. If they feel feathery, it’s a female. If they feel boney, it’s a male.

I learned Identifiable features for different species, how each creature moves and how they protect themselves. I also learned proper handling techniques, what they eat and who eats them. Animals that I saw included:

  • American Lobster
  • Green Crab
  • Asian Shore Crab
  • Rock Crab
  • Soft Shell Crab
  • Jonah Crab (Chillout Crab) 
  • Common Periwinkle
  • Smooth and Rough Periwinkle
  • Dogwinkle
  • Tortoise Shell Limpet
  • Barnacle
  • Sea Urchin           

 Throughout the Coastal Encounter, I found an array of ocean creatures and learned many facts. This experience reinforced my desire to be a marine biologist and work to help save the oceans.

In addition to the Costal Encounter, Abby applied and was accepted to participate in an ALCOSAN Clean Water one week camp in July. She learned all about clean water, wastewater, and water treatment. Then, she visited Carnegie Mellon University and Phipps Conservatory where faculty and researchers addressed water conservation.  She then was put into a team and the team had to create their own sustainable park with water features, plants, and playground for kids.  They had to build their model, work with architecture grad students, work with a 3-D printer and then present their model and storyboard.