Had a relaxed day in Lysekil yesterday. Lysekil is one of the busiest divespots in Sweden. I went to Diveteam Lysekil that had arranged a lecture in marine biology. Researchers reach out to divers and gave a very informative and inspiring talk about lobsters. I didn’t know how little was known about lobster ecology. Since they live on bottoms they are hard to study in their natural habitat. Having a stable population is important both to preserve the environment and for the fishery interests. Now we get to the hard part! Lobsters are slow breeders. Lobster reproduce by transfer of sperm during summer and the female then makes ova and fertilize the eggs for next year. Then comes a larvae stage where the to-be lobsters move with the current. It takes 7-8 years until a lobster reaches the size we are used to see them in the store. All in all, a slow and vulnerable life cycle with many unknowns.
Another problem is a possible invasion of foreign lobster species, mainly the American lobster. There has been sightings and there are questions about cross reproduction fertility and competition. Luckily, as invasive species is a global problem that can unbalance ecosystems and give wide-ranging destructive effects, this is an area of marine ecology that can get some research funding. The researchers are thinking of working with divers who report sightings and also bring in pictures of the claws. The EU-funded project “carapax” has found a relationship between body weight and claw proportion between the big and small part of the claw. Hereby photographs can be used to “weigh” the animals.
Divers can be a part of research! Cool isn’t it?! I also felt an increased interest for the species after the talk – we protect what we love.
I had a nice talk with people at the dive center and went for a short dive. I still have a lot to learn to become a proficient dry suit diver – but there is no better way than just putting the hours into it… So, I do.