This Week In The Lab

Urchins tanks are ready

Last week, I told you about experiments I would be starting at MaST aquarium in Des Moines, WA.  I’m happy to report that the urchin tanks (aka kiddie pools) are up and running! Urchins in kiddie pool A small number of specimens have been moved into the tanks.  I’ll let them acclimate for a week or so to ensure that everything is functioning properly.  Then, it will be time for experiments.

I’ll be trying a variety of different approaches – urchin corrals, sponge barriers, and tethering.  The objective is to find a way to contain urchins without significantly altering physical conditions (such as water flow).  With each method, and particularly with tethering, I’ll be testing whether the technique alters how urchins feed.  This is important because the urchins themselves will later be the experimental treatment in the field when I test whether urchin feeding alters the biological community on subtidal riprap.

Urchins in kiddie pools at MaST aquariumIf you have ideas about how you would contain urchins in a fixed area, I’d love to hear about it!  Submit an idea or drawing on the Contact Me page.  Or, send me your idea at:

Eliza Heery
University of Washington, Department of Biology
Box 351800
Seattle, WA 98195-1800