“Blue tanks”

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My research students David Conner, Connor Perry and Ethan Armistead (from L to R) sampling crayfish from mesocosms.

Yes, these are cattle tanks. But we are not allowed to raise cattle at Longwood University. Also, we are not calling them cattle tanks. We call them “mesocosms”. We are using these cattle tanks to conduct field experiments.¬†You can create mini-ecosystems in these mesocosms¬†and study species interactions under semi-natural conditions. We are currently studying interactions between native Piedmont crayfish and invasive virile crayfish under various densities of invasive crayfish. Invasive crayfish could pose negative impacts on natives due to predation and competition for limited resources. It is a lot of work to set this kind of experiments, but the data will be more realistic and reflect long-term impacts of these species interactions. Let’s see what we get in a few weeks!

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