The quest to find lobster phyllosoma larvae
Thursday January 19th, 2006
Log by Eduardo Espinoza, Jules Paredes, Mauricio Castrejon and Cèsar Peñaherrera
Our team is composed of Eduardo Espinoza and Jules Paredes from the Galapagos National Park and by Mauricio Castrejon and Cèsar Peñaherrera from the Charles Darwin Research Station. Our mission? To find the until now unseen spiny lobster phyllosoma larvae, Where? Wherever………ohhh sorry!!! We have to interrupt our essay because it is meal time…….again (it seems like the time between meals is only 1 hour!!!)
After we ate we decided to become serious scientists. So we started our quest. First, we had to prepare all the material to catch the lobster larvae (phyllosomas). During this process we received a lot of support from the Thomas G. Thompson`s crew members and from other scientists. So we prepared our plankton net and the jars where we would put the larvae that we expected to catch.
The first tow was January 13th at 2:00 am, we have to admit that we were a little tired but at the same time very excited to start our mission…
However the first attempt was unsuccessful. Many questions came to our minds…what happened??? Did we do something wrong??? Or were there larvae at all? We went to bed at 5:00 am with those questions in our minds. At that moment we realized that our life would be in the darkness, sleeping in days and working in nights. However we weren’t the only ones, there were other movements in the darkness too…
The second day we received our reward: we caught three lobster phyllosoma about 40 miles away from the coast of Fernandina. The larvae were really big. They were between three and six centimeters in length and were totally transparent. We showed them to our colleagues as if they were a treasure. We were very proud of our results….
After that we decided that the net must have some design changes in order to improve the methodology. As a result, we created a new method to catch phyllosoma larvae. Our team was asked by Roy to spread out and become involved with the others researchers and the activities that they were carrying out onboard. We followed Roy´s orders by showing our salsa skills, making jokes, playing ping pong, eating rice, etc. in exchange for scientific knowledge…….
Until now we have caught four spiny lobster larvae (phyllosoma) …. Our mission could be considered as exploratory. With the results of this survey we know that the experimental survey works. Now we have to use these results to develop a new experimental design focused in describing the distribution of the lobster phyllosoma larvae in the GMR, trying to understand its spatial and temporal variation. Now, one night before the end of the cruise, we realized that we have to change again our behavior into a normal life, waking up early and going to the bed late….