Expedition Journal

January 24, 1996
The Great Lobster Hunt

Today, Jim, Susan, and I began a journey to find juvenile spiny lobsters in the Florida Bay. We went out on the boat with Lyn Cox, John Hunt, and Bill Sharp. The spiny lobster differs from the more commonly known Maine lobster. The spiny lobster lacks the large front claws that makes the Maine lobster look so menacing. To ward off enemies, the spiny lobster is covered with sharp spines. However, the juvenile spiny lobster barely resembles the adult of the species. Post-larval lobsters are transparent and do not feed. In fact, they have no mouth. Their clear bodies, which are only about one inch long, transform into a semi-colored body. Finally, the small creature grows and resembles the adult spiny lobster.

Next, we went on a commercial lobster boat. The traps used to catch lobster are about two feet by three feet. In the traps we found some interesting marine creatures, including crabs, lobster, and the dreaded toad fish. We measured and identified the lobsters that we caught in the traps. Afterwards, the scientists decided to put us to work. Acompianied by Lyn, Bill, and Rod Bertelsen, the three of us tried to snorkel count lobsters. We had little luck, but it was lots of fun!

The final step will be to utilize GIS to map the lobster count. Here at KML, the GIS staff have set up lots of computer equipment. In no time at all, we can produce a map showing the estimated lobster count of the Florida Bay.

Amanda Chuk
JASON VII Student Argonaut

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Gene Carl Feldman (gene@seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov) (301) 286-9428
Todd Carlo Viola, JASON Foundation for Education (todd@jason.org)
Revised: 25 Jan 1996