Decorator Crabs are the Topic of Brown Bag Seminar at DMC

Dr. Molly Jacobs, a visiting researcher at University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center (DMC) in Walpole, will present a “brown-bag” seminar at the center on Thursday, September 15th at 12 noon. Her talk is titled: Age-appropriate outfits? Decorating behavior in juvenile and adult decorator crabs (Oregonia gracilis).

“My current work focuses on the behavioral ecology of crabs, with a particular focus on the period immediately before and after metamorphosis,” said Jacobs. “Baby crabs are totally fun to work with, and the work is also important because it can help us understand what happens during the early juvenile period.”

Decorator crabs hide from predators by covering themselves with materials from their environment. In young crabs, the development of this behavior has been poorly studied compared to other factors, such as habitat selection and physical development, but the coordination of all three is important for their survival. Understanding such behaviors also helps to illuminate how young crabs are likely to interact with other species on the ocean floor, including invasive crab species.

Jacobs, a tenured faculty member at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, was born and raised in Maine. She didn’t discover marine biology until after moving away to attend Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, and to earn her PhD from the University of Washington, Seattle. She became interested in juvenile behavioral transitions that occur during metamorphosis while studying lobsters at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass.

The DMC is located at 193 Clarks Cove Road in Walpole, and the talk will take place in Brooke Hall on the lower waterfront campus. Please bring your own brown bag lunch. For directions or more information about the DMC please visit our website