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Lobsters With A Built-in Global Positioning System (GPS)

March 26, 2013

Scientists were surprised when they discovered the ability of Caribbean spiny lobsters to read its magnetic field. The Caribbean spiny lobster relobster GPS copysearchers collected more than 100 lobsters from various locations. Each lobster was tagged with a number indicating the exact location of their discovery. They were then placed in close containers and boated about in circuitous routes for hours so they could not remember the direction of home.

To further confuse the lobsters some of the containers contained magnets. Each lobster was then fitted with a movable hood so that they were effectively blindfolded. They were then placed in a large tank to see which directions they would naturally seek. Typically the lobsters would begin trying to walk home aiming to within a three compass degrees of where they were captured. Who would ever think that spiny lobsters would have such sophisticated navigation system?

This gives me an idea how to begin the new lobster season during the mini season this July. I have interviewed few people who are lobster enthusiasts. Catching lobsters has become their great passion. They have one thing in common. They want to make sure their lobsters spots remain a secret. But once their location has been fished out they have to wait until new lobsters make their secret spot their new home. But what if the lobster masters would become scientists themselves?

There are a few websites on Internet that describe fish tagging and  how you could humanely tag and track a lobster and its movements. Since the spiny lobsters have built-in global positioning system they are most likely be able to find their home. Local commercial lobster fisheries have their spots but what if they catch a lobster who was stranded from its home? I could just go buy a live lobster and set it free.  Then track its movements and find out where the lobster ends up making its new home. Few months later or perhaps a few days later I could check out that location and see what is out  there.

Link to the research:

http://www.unc.edu/depts/oceanweb/lobsters/2041.pdf

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