Degree: pursuing PhD in Fisheries
Current City: Newport, OR
1. Describe your project, in 4 sentences or less.
My project explores the feasibility of king crab stock enhancement in Alaska. Specifically, I am looking at ways to optimize hatchery production of juvenile crabs. I am also developing release strategies for juvenile crabs.
2. Your lab is in Seward but you are currently working in Newport, Oregon. What is a challenge you’ve had to overcome with this location change (and how)?
The biggest challenge in working in other labs is learning how the seawater systems work in terms of supply, filtration, temperature control, etc. For example, at the Newport Lab, the seawater temperature is controlled by adjusting heat exchangers, which is impacted by the flow rates into the various tanks containing crabs, fish, etc. Changing the flow in one tank can affect the temperature in other tanks. To adjust for this, I have had to be very careful in maintaining flow conditions in my experimental tanks.
3. You take all of your classes through video-conferencing. What would be your top 2 tips for other distance students?
1. Try to participate in class (ask questions, make comments) as much as possible. This keeps you feeling involved with the other students and the professor. It also reminds them that you are a real person and not just a face on a TV screen.
2. Bring coffee to stay alert. It can be easy to become distracted or to lose focus.
4. Has raising baby king crabs prepared you for raising baby humans?
Ben: Yes, raising baby king crabs is preparing me for raising humans. The crabs require daily care, especially as larvae. The larvae are very sensitive to temperature fluctuations and an inadequate food supply, just like baby humans. One nice thing about baby crabs: they don’t cry.
Beate (wife): No, not unless the baby crabs need to be nursed or have their diapers changed!
5. What is your favorite piece of crab paraphernalia?
We try to limit our crab paraphernalia as it can get out of hand due to gifts from relatives. Right now our favorite piece is our crab “welcome mat”, which has a big picture of a blue crab. Sometimes it can feel good to stomp on the mat with my boots to get out any built-up animosity towards the crabs……..just joking……..I love the crabs.