Sunday, October 1, 2023

Scientists are using puppets to train crabs to eat the algae that's killing Florida's coral reefs

Vox (yes, there's photos):

[A marine ecologist] has roughly a hundred crabs in the Florida Keys, and just shy of 200 at a new breeding facility in Sarasota. He’ll start dropping them into the ocean as soon as the end of the year or in early 2024, he said.

But there’s one step before then, and it may involve ... hand puppets?

Because the crabs are raised in a lab, they don’t have any experience with predators. So before putting them onto the reef, Spadaro and his team may have to condition them to fear things like octopuses, snappers, and groupers.

One way to do this is by using puppets modeled after predators.