Researchers attached acoustic tags to 50 spider crabs, gluing the devices to the backs of the crabs’ shells, acting as miniature backpacks.
“Interestingly, the spider crabs seem to be in Port Phillip Bay up to seven months after moulting, much longer than we expected,” said Associate Professor Daniel Ierodiaconou.
“The individuals moved in a southerly direction towards Port Phillip Heads where we detected most of the individuals tagged from St Leonards, around 15 kilometres away.
“We used the latest technologies in marine science to fill major knowledge gaps when it comes to tracking spider crabs.
“This included tracking via acoustic listening stations; advanced imaging technology to document occurrences and density estimates, and AI to automate the counting of crabs from the large volumes of video we captured.
“We also harnessed the power of citizen science to help us in our data collection and analysis.”
Observations from ‘citizen scientists’ allowed the research team to determine when and for how long spider crabs came together on the Bellarine Peninsula.
Deakin University researchers invited them to record their observations of spider crabs on website iNaturalist.
During that season, just under 200 observations were received from 63 citizen scientists.
Image: Deakin University