Artificial Tide Pools and Dwarf Hermit Crabs

Emily Mydlowski is a biology student and McNair Scholar at Northern Michigan University.  This summer, in addition to working as a Riparian Field Technician with The Nature Conservancy, Emily is busy working in the fish lab under the guidance of her faculty mentor, Dr. Jill Leonard.


Emily’s project seeks to shed light on habitat preference of dwarf hermit crabs in artificial tide pools she and her mentor constructed. Northern Michigan University is located in Marquette, MI which is far from the ocean. And while Lake Superior sometimes seems like the ocean, it’s not. So, Emily had to figure out a way to mimic tide pool patterns in the NMU fish lab. Dr. Leonard came up with a design for an artificial tide pool, which is pretty cool. According to Emily “It’s hard to keep the crabs out of the spotlight, but the real focus of this is the tide pool stimulation.” As a result of the experience of putting it together, Emily ended up with some plumbing skills!

In this short video, Emily explains how the artificial tide pool works:

During the school year Emily stays busy with McNair Program activities, a rigorous course load, and her duties as president of the Sun and Pine student organization. “Sun and Pine is a nature club and we organize outings that mostly pertain to learning about the U.P. forest. A main goal of the club is to introduce non-biology and biology students to the forest, teaching and showing them the glory of the ecology” according to Emily. After graduation, Emily plans to pursue a graduate degree. We wish her the best in her research and are looking forward to hearing more about accomplishments in the future.



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