Friday, September 17, 2010

Ask A Grad Student: Megan Murphy

We talked with a student looking at adult crabs, and a student looking at juvenile crabs, but what about the larvae? Is anyone thinking about the larvae?!? Oh, yeah, Megan is!

Age: 30

Degree: Biological Oceanography

Current City: Homer

1. Describe your project, in 4 sentences or less.

My project was a first step at answering the question, "Are the adult crabs in Kachemak Bay the source for new recruits or is the bay dependent on upstream sources?" I looked at the presence and abundance of brachyuran larval crab across the inner/outer Kachemak Bay boundary over an entire larval crab period (March - October). The idea was to determine what crab exist as larvae in Kachemak Bay, when they are present in the water column, and (hopefully) if they were coming or going?

2. You are creating an ID guide for brachyuran crab larvae. In your opinion, which crab has the cutest larvae?

The crab with the cutest larvae is a hard decision. I get most excited when I see a Dungeness larvae because they were the least abundant. They are all fascinating... I don't know if cute is the word I would use. Perhaps when they become megalopae, then they look like cute miniature 'crabs'.

YIKES! A Dungeness crab zoea!

Dungy megalope -- way cuter

3. What was the most difficult part of your project and how did you overcome it?

The beginning seemed the hardest... just figuring out how to make the sampling work effectively. Basically, making words on paper happen in real life with a real boat, real weather issues, and steep learning curves. Try, try, and try again. Relax, laugh a little, then try again.

Megan sampling, for real!

4. You just defended your thesis (congrats!). What’s next?

I've been working full-time since September of last year... so, I am looking forward to 'just' working full-time and using a different part of my brain... hope to take pottery this semester at the local campus.

5. What is your favorite piece of crab paraphernalia?

My friend, Sarah, made me a 'crab lady' bracelet.

Thanks Megan! Enjoy relaxing with your "9-5"!

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