Monday 19 August 2013

An afterthought...

Clonk and I, pre release, Oxwich bay.
So after my super successful first blog (64 page views in an hour wahoooo), I thought I should explain a little about the title of my blog. Self explanatory, but also a cute story.

During my undergraduate degree, Dr. Emma Wootton, a postdoc in my lab was my 'mentor' (basically she told me what to do and taught me to love all things lobster), and introduced me to a Swansea lobster, which she had named Clonk.

All of the lobsters in our aquarium were either from the Lundy Island MCZ, or born at the Padstow Lobster Hatchery and reared in CSAR, the university's aquaculture facility. The only lobsters that were reported to have the parasites seemed to be the Lundy ones, so to test this theory, Emma got hold of a lobster from the Swansea area and brought him back.

However, it seemed that he didn't want to moult, so we couldn't check him for the parasites (visible on the gills only), and when he did, he did it in the dead of night, usually on a weekend, so that nobody was there to check, and then ate his moult before we arrived on the Monday. Basically, he was a right pain!

At first, Clonk was put in the big tank with all the other wild caught lobsters (banded, of course), but after a few weeks we had to put him in solitary confinement. Not only did he start fights with nearly all of the other lobsters, he stole their food too. Long story short, ASBO lobster was put in his own tank, where he happily munched on mussels by himself, regained his claw power after having his bands taken off, and clonked the side of the tank loudly whenever anyone went into the 'lobster room', because he was an attention seeking little monster.

Foot Clonk.
Naturally, when it came to me getting my first ever tattoo, it had to be a lobster, and who else better than Clonk to be the star of the show? After a drunken discussion with friends one evening about how I should definitely man up, stop talking about getting one, and just get one, I took a photo of my beloved lobster to the tattoo shop and 24 hours later was branded for life (Eek!).

At the end of May, Emma left the university for a career in horticulture, her other passion in life, and we were all very sad to see her go. She agreed that she would miss us too, but mainly the lobsters, as they are much easier to get on with than humans, and it came to my attention that we had been holding onto Clonk a little too long. The parasite experiments were long over, and since we couldn't release the Lundy ones around Swansea, the only one we could release was Clonk. I figured that he was the most aggressive lobster ever, so he would definitely be able to look after himself, and I v-notched him just to be sure he wouldn't end up back in the pot straight away.

As ever the social media fanatic, I decided to document his journey to freedom, along with some friends so that I could show the world, but mainly Emma, his final journey, via youtube ...

As usual.. you can tweet me @_CharlotteEve_, or check me out on LinkedIn.

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