Research

lobster_research

Lobster Research
Our focus is trying to understand the relationship between the behavior and physiology of lobsters and their natural habitat. We use the latest technologies to study their activities in the ocean and estuaries and then we compare our findings with predictions we make based upon what we learn about their sensory and motor systems in the laboratory. Currently we are investigating lobster homing behavior, the seasonal movements of berried females, the influence of water temperature on larval survival, their abilities to produce and hear sounds, and their biological rhythms.

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Nudibranch Neurobiology and Behavior
Nudibranches are often studied by neurobiologists because they have very large, identifiable, neurons that are very amenable to neurophysiological investigations. Our studies of the nudibranch, Melibe leonina, center around their rhythmic behaviors, such as feeding and swimming. We seek to identify the neural circuits that generate the behaviors as well as the neurons and hormones that modulate the expression of these behaviors.

limulus_research

Horseshoe Crab Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior
During the late spring horseshoe crabs engage in a mating behavior that takes place close to shore during each high tide. The rest of the year they carry out all their activities in deep water. Like lobsters they are capable of moving great distances and surviving in the often challenging conditions in the Great Bay estuary. Our research efforts are directed toward understanding the biological clocks that control their tidal rhythms in the spring and circadian rhythms during the rest of the year. We also seek to understand the factors that synchronize these rhythms to the natural cycles in their environment and determine how their long-term seasonal migrations serve to enhance their survival in the estuary.

cod_research

Cod Behavior and Psychology
While natural cod populations have declined, there is a growing interest in cod aquaculture. UNH has a strong ongoing program in offshore production of cod, and we are using biotelemetry to learn more about the behavior of cod inside of offshore net pens. These studies of cod swimming and feeding activity will provide information that will enable scientists to optimize feeding schedules so they can grow better fish at a lower cost. In addition, these pens allow us to learn a great deal about cod behavior and physiology in a semi- natural environment.

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