Bear Lake Sampling

Steve Whittemore's Research Testimonial

I spent this summer performing research under Dr. Scott Medler’s supervision. We compared the anatomy and physiology of ghost and fiddler crabs. We did a direct comparison to see why ghost crabs are faster runners than their close relative the fiddler crabs. Using a high-speed camera and a treadmill we compared the stride frequencies of the two species, and determined how frequency changed as a function of body mass. We also took measurements of the crabs’ limb dimensions and used these parameters to determine the relationship between the crabs muscular cross sectional area of the leg, and the crabs mass. Lastly we weighted the ghost crabs with lead weights to see if it made any impact on their running performance. This was done in order to experimentally manipulate the relationship between the crabs’ mass and running frequency.

To me the research meant an opportunity to learn about something I had never thought of before. Considering that I am a track and cross country runner, the comparison of running performances was very interesting to me. The summer fellowship offered a way to get hands on lab experience, hypothesize about scientific data, and it gave me a way to apply my statistical knowledge into the world of science. I walked out of this summer with a better understanding for research, chemical reactions, and practical lab protocols such as gel electrophoreses and silver staining. In general the research gave me an idea of what aspects of biology I am interested in for my future.

Steve Whittemore
Double major – Medical Technology and Biology, Class of 2014