Jennifer Smith

  • Area: Welcome to my Lobster Hotel!
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Young Tassie Scientist

PhD Candidate, Marine Biology
Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies,
University of Tasmania


These are the words I have found myself saying far more often than I ever thought I would. I’m studying marine biology at university and I’m trying to find out what a Rock Lobster’s favourite food is! We hope that the Southern Rock Lobster, maybe better known as the Tassie Crayfish, will help us to control kelp-destroying, Longspined Sea Urchins in Tasmania. These urchins are only in Tasmania because of climate change, and they are causing loads of destruction underwater along the East Coast.

I have set up big experiments in my Lobster Hotel, where I provide lobsters with an all-you-can-eat style banquet of a combination of Longspined Sea Urchins and other reef animals we think they might like to eat. By watching which prey they choose and how they catch and eat different things, I hope to be able to tell which is their favourite. From this I hope to find out whether they might help us control the pesky Longspined Sea Urchins by eating lots of them in the wild!

Before this lobster-urchin project, I worked on a project where I had to catch tropical butterflies in the Amazon Rainforest to see how climate change might affect them. And then I worked at London Zoo looking at how climate change is influencing how species are moving around the world. Being a SCUBA diver made me want to learn more about climate change in the ocean, and now I get to dive for work!

Follow Jennie on Twitter: @_jenniesmith