Lobsters – Home

Lobsters – Home

Music; Ambience: Ocean sounds

JM: You make a nice place for yourself and then go duke it out with the neighbors. Such is the life of a lobster. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Jelle Atema studies lobster behavior at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory. He says that lobsters go to a lot of trouble to find a good home on the ocean floor.

JA: “Lobsters are great landscapers. They find, initially, a place,and then they perfect it to their wishes. They dig it out; they plug up areas and holes with rocks and with plants. And the lobsters plug holes, also, when they want to hide from other lobsters.”

JM: But finding a home also means establishing yourself in the neighborhood. Jelle Atema says that lobsters have their own take on the “getting-to-know-you” tradition.

JA: “Several experiments we have conducted have shown that when you throw a bunch of lobsters together in a large aquarium- they’ve never seen each other and they’ve never seen that environment, the first thing they do is explore the environment and fight with each other. And within half an hour, they have already had so many interactions with each other, that they basically already know everybody, as individuals! So that means that they don’t have to fight as much anymore, because, “oh, yeah, I know you. I already lost from you. I’ll walk away. We don’t need to fight. Oh, yeah now here’s a new guy, I don’t know him.” Fight starts. After half an hour, most of the serious fighting is over already. And after a day, the only thing they really do is wave their arms at each other and say, “yeah, yeah, I know you,” and walk by. They are learning the individuality of their tank mates very quickly. But at the same time, they are also wandering around all over the place and looking for all the shelters. So as they are getting to know who is dominant, the dominant of course can take first pick of the best shelters. And so they sort that out and after a little while, they have found their place and they know everybody. And from then on, it is pretty regulated society of lobsters.”

JM: Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation.

Lobsters - Home

Welcome to the 'hood: lobsters battle it out with their new neighbors.
Air Date:02/03/2006
Scientist:
Transcript:

Lobsters - Home

Music; Ambience: Ocean sounds

JM: You make a nice place for yourself and then go duke it out with the neighbors. Such is the life of a lobster. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Jelle Atema studies lobster behavior at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory. He says that lobsters go to a lot of trouble to find a good home on the ocean floor.

JA: "Lobsters are great landscapers. They find, initially, a place,and then they perfect it to their wishes. They dig it out; they plug up areas and holes with rocks and with plants. And the lobsters plug holes, also, when they want to hide from other lobsters."

JM: But finding a home also means establishing yourself in the neighborhood. Jelle Atema says that lobsters have their own take on the "getting-to-know-you" tradition.

JA: "Several experiments we have conducted have shown that when you throw a bunch of lobsters together in a large aquarium- they've never seen each other and they've never seen that environment, the first thing they do is explore the environment and fight with each other. And within half an hour, they have already had so many interactions with each other, that they basically already know everybody, as individuals! So that means that they don't have to fight as much anymore, because, "oh, yeah, I know you. I already lost from you. I'll walk away. We don't need to fight. Oh, yeah now here's a new guy, I don't know him." Fight starts. After half an hour, most of the serious fighting is over already. And after a day, the only thing they really do is wave their arms at each other and say, "yeah, yeah, I know you," and walk by. They are learning the individuality of their tank mates very quickly. But at the same time, they are also wandering around all over the place and looking for all the shelters. So as they are getting to know who is dominant, the dominant of course can take first pick of the best shelters. And so they sort that out and after a little while, they have found their place and they know everybody. And from then on, it is pretty regulated society of lobsters."

JM: Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation.