So Much Happening!
Based on the absence of posts for the past few months, you can be forgiven for thinking the project is dead or dormant. In fact, the situation is just the opposite. The semester has been so busy, there has not been time to write more than a few draft posts. I envy people who have the time and energy both to do things and to write about them.
Bryopsis growth has continued strongly, producing about 150 to 250 grams per week of tasy slug food. The slugs have responded by growing huge and laying eggs.
The E. clarki in the Box of Slugs 2 at home have produced a series of large egg masses (At least 12 so far, including the fresh batch below), providing many opportunities to test larval rearing ideas. As has happened in the past, the eggs hatch, the veligers settle, but the baby slugs do not start eating. I will finish the post describing our attempts, and a potential breakthrough, very soon.
The Chemical Ecology independent study project at USG was a big success. We went through a pile of articles about kleptoplasty, chemical defense, phototaxis, etc, which will result in at least a few Journal Club posts here. We did a little PCR, positively identifying some of the algae we have been working with (more posts to come!). The students also shamed me into contacting Skip Pierce and Mike Middlebrooks, about possible reasons the hatchlings haven’t been feeding, which may have led us to a solution.
As we start thinking about projects for next semester, I was getting a little despondent that none of the collectors have been able to provide E. clarki, since Irma struck the Keys. It was a huge relief when Blue Zoo Aquatics sent me a small group of very healthy looking E. crispata last week. Pricier than I am used to, but it’s just good to have them.
I look forward to finishing posts about all of the above, along with any surprises and breakthroughs we encounter.