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Rachael Himelberg - Fish and Invertebrate Lab

University of Miami, FL

I looked at the stomach content analysis of White Perch, Striped Bass and Blue Crabs.  I looked at variations in diets at different sites, times and depths. I found that Blue Crabs were cannibalistic.  However, White Perch and Striped Bass choose to eat mainly fish and shrimp. There was little evidence in my study that suggested that White Perch and Striped Bass were predators of Blue Crabs. Only 8.3% of White Perch sampled had crabs within their stomachs. Striped Bass only had 2.2% of crabs in their stomachs. However, it was shocking to discover that every Blue Crab dissected (N= 83) ate a crab.

I have had such an amazing experience working in the Crab Lab that I cannot capture it into words.  I was faced with many challenges and found that I could achieve more than I ever imagined. I learned how to tag juvenile blue crabs, design experiments, seine and utilized tows and perform benthic core samples. I learned how to drive a boat and dissect fish and crabs. SERC provided me with an opportunity to use valuable resources to make a difference in science. I was proud to have helped in the efforts to save the declining blue crab population.  The scientists at SERC have a passion for knowledge that is contagious to all the interns here. After this internship, I am volunteering at the Natural History Museum with Dr. Clyde Roper who is an expert on Giant Squids. I plan to go to graduate school next year and continue my quest to see a giant squid alive in its natural habitat.

Funding provided by the NOAA/COMB Blue Crab grant