• Physiological and behavioral responses of tanner crabs (Chionoecetes bairdi) to handling, emersion and temperature

      El Mejjati, Sonya Y. (2006-12)
      Commercially harvested Tanner crabs (Chionoecetes bairdi) are exposed to physical stressors during capture and sorting including changes in temperature and oxygen availability. This study characterizes the physiological and behavioral responses of Tanner crabs exposed to air (emersion) at 8 and -15°C for various durations. Concentrations of glucose and lactate in hemolymph measured between 30 and 120 min following emersion for 45 min differed between animals exposed to 8 or -15°C. Glucose concentrations were higher among animals emersed at 8°C than those exposed to -15°C within the intervals sampled. Lactate concentrations were unchanged at intervals following emersion at 8°C, while they were elevated at 120 min following emersion at -15°C. Rates of oxygen consumption (VO₂) increased immediately following 15, 30, and 45 min emersion at 8°C, whereas 30 and 45 min emersion at -15°C resulted in depressed VO₂. All crabs survived handling and emersion at 8°C, while exposure to -15°C resulted in increased mortality. Thus, differences among physiological parameters corresponded with differences in percentage survival between the two temperature treatments. While not providing a causal relationship between survival and physiology, the metabolic responses of Tanner crabs following a simulated capture protocol provide a predictive index of subsequent survival.