Researchers from Alaska and Argentina are collaborating this summer in Juneau in studying the biology of the early life stages of southern king crab, whose scientific name is lithodes santolla.
Staff at the Alaska King Crab Research, Rehabilitation and Biology Program said the collaboration with Paula Sotelano of the Austral Center for Scientific Research in Ushuaia, Argentina is providing an excellent opportunity for international sharing of king crab research.
Southern king crab stocks in Argentina are currently depressed, similar to some king crab stocks in Alaska, and declines in landings have motivated research and development for a stock enhancement program in Argentina.
Sotelano has studied the effects of density, stage and molt condition on juvenile king crab growth and cannibalism as a postdoctoral researcher at the Austral Center’s Marine Crustaceans Laboratory.
In Alaska she is earning about Alaska king crab culture and research so that technologies might be transferred to Argentina.
Sotelano arrived in Alaska in April to attend the Kodiak Area Marine Science Symposium, where she heard about a variety of crab research in the area, including the NOAA Kodiak Laboratory. She visited the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in Seward to learn the hatchery setup and was in Juneau through the end of July, comparing behavioral traits between wild and hatchery-raised Alaska red king crab juveniles to learn more about potential effects on hatchery rearing.
The AKCRRAB program is sponsored by a number of community groups, industry members, the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery, NOAA Fisheries, the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean sciences, and Alaska Sea Grant.