|A Crepidula fornicata larva. You can see its spiral shell, and|
the lob hanging down is its velum.
I'm investigating whether the conditions brooding mothers are kept in have carryover effects on the larvae. My mothers are in two different temperatures and only half of them are getting fed, so I can test those two crossed factors (high/low temperature and food/no food). To tell if there are any effects on the larvae, I'm measuring several variables - how big the larvae are when they're spawned, how quickly they grow, and how long it takes them to become competent to settle.
|Crepidula larvae swimming in a dish under the microscope.|
The clear lobes on each individual are the velum.
I'm able to make them stop swimming by cooling them down - basically sticking them in the freezer for a few minutes. Then I measure them using an ocular micrometer, which is a type of ruler built into the eyepiece of a microscope. I record the magnification and how many tick marks long the larva is so I can calculate their true size later. Voila - data!
It is very exciting for me to be collecting data for my experiment, and I hope I have good results!