In honour of Shake Out, the earthquake drill at UBC, my lab partner and I thought it would be a good idea to see how crabs respond to earthquakes and if they could shake off the effects.
We literally shook the crabs in a container and a low and high intensity to see if the strength of the shaking affected them. To be honest, I was really bad at shaking the crabs at a constant tempo and pattern because I’m rhythmically challenged, but haters gonna hate.
But actually, it was my lab partner who did most the shaking, since he was much better at it than me.
We also simulated falling debris by dropping shell fragments on the crabs as we shook them.
So after either letting them sit in the tray with no shaking, shaking them at either high or low intensity, only dropping shells on them, or shaking then at one of the two intensities and dropping shells on them, we measured how far they moved when placed in a calibrated race track made of two meter sticks. And some of them were speedy. Others, did nothing.
After enough different crabs went under each scenario, we looked at the results and while nothing had a significant effect, we found that crabs that were not shaken, nor anything dropped on them moved the furthest in 30 seconds. My lab partner and I believe that with a larger sample size, we might have been able to see more of an effect, with the stress from the shaking and dropping of things on their heads scaring them enough to reduce how much they move. Maybe they were following the 60 second rule where during an earthquake, you hide and count to 60 seconds before doing anything.
To be honest, I probably won’t do that well running around after an earthquake, especially if I had to crab walk…
So after the trauma that we put our crabs through, I just want to thank all our lovely participants in our experiment.