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Dynamic measurements of black oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani) predation on mussels (Mytilus californianus)

A black oystercatcher foraging in central California

Myself and co-author Wes Dowd have a new paper out in the journal Invertebrate Biology detailing a set of observations we made of black oystercatchers attacking a set of mussels that were part of an experiment we were running. The mussels in our experiment were wearing a set of sensors, including an internal temperature sensor, a valve gape sensor (aka a ‘valvometer’), and a 3-axis accelerometer and magnetometer sensor. These mussels were part of a bed of live mussels (image below) … Continue Reading

“Robomussels” in the New York Times

Robomussel in a mussel bed at Hopkins Marine Station, Pacific Grove, CA.

For several years, starting first at UC Santa Barbara around 1999/2000, and then in the mid 2000’s and early teens at Hopkins Marine Station, I would spend one or two low tides per year going out to the seashore and gluing fake plastic mussels into the middle of real mussel beds (as shown above). These ‘robomussels’ were originally created by Brian Helmuth (now of Northeastern … Continue Reading