I won best talk last year (yes, that's me, tooting my own horn. Honk-honk!) and since I'm still in the process of processing (ha!) my hemolymph samples for methyl farnesoate I decided to sit this one out.
Yup, my talk was Fight Club-themed.
This year's crab highlights:
Blue king crab (BKC) Paralithodes platypus were heavily represented today with a talk on their genetics by Jennifer Stoutamore (are BKC from St Matthew and the Pribilof Islands genetically distinct populations??) and a talk on their socioecological impact to the people from the Pribs by Courtney Lyons (how does management of BKC bycatch in other fisheries affect the livelihoods of local fishermen??). Both projects are in the beginning stages, but it was exciting to learn more about BKC in general and see what's being researched.
blue kings from St Paul
Chionoecetes were well covered as well: those two heavy-hitters were Joel Webb looking at snow crab C. opilio fecundity and egg production with respect to stock demography and temperature (females shift from an annual to a biennial cycle of embryo incubation in waters < 0° C! Literally cool, I know!) and Jonathan Richar discussing C. bairdi recruitment in the eastern Bering Sea with respect to predator and parental abundances, and then some environmental variables to boot. And Alexis Hall gave a talk about the relationships between trawlers, crabs, and groundfish, where she'll be looking at whether or not groundfish are profiting from discarded crab bycatch from trawling fisheries; I'm pretty sure this includes Chionoecetes crabs, but she's including lots of crabs prevalent in the eastern Bering Sea, just to, you know, be thorough.
Finally, there were the otter talks. What? What do otters have to do with crabs?
Oh, oh, I see. Zac Hoyt is looking at the recoloniztion of sea otters in southern Southeast Alaska after they'd been overharvested in the 1800's fur trade, asking how this new population is affecting both macroinvertebrates (crabs, urchins, clams, etc) and the fishermen who target them after becoming used to a sea otter-free Southeast. Sean Larson is also looking at new sea otter predation with Zac, focusing on sea cucumbers, which are one of my favorite inverts!
Woo-hoo! As it turns out, the Crab Lab cleaned up at this student symposium: Joel Webb and Sean Larson tied for first place and Courtney Lyons won third place for their presentations! Congratulations!