kusa — Colorado may be the last place you’d think groundbreaking research into ocean life would be done, but researchers at CSU are doing just that.

They’re studying crabs and looking into the effects climate change has on the crustaceans in a research group called the Crab Lab. In the Crab Lab, they have boxes and boxes of blackback land crabs.

There are 250 of them living in the lab right now.

Dr. Donald Mykles leads students in researching the growth of the crabs and how they react to certain conditions -- including climate change.

“Through our research we’ve identified particular genes can help us identify certain effects of the environment on these organisms," Mykles said.

They’re still conducting the research, but they have found that when temperatures heat up, the crabs’ growth is affected. Mykles says the crabs exhibit stress factors – meaning if they’re too warm, they molt their exoskeletons more quickly.

All of the crabs are from the Caribbean, and they are very sensitive to temperature and humidity.

Because of this, Mykles keeps the lab 82 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 percent relative humidity. Mykles says the animals can be a good indicator of climate change because they’re so sensitive to a changing environment.


Right now, there are three graduate students and nine undergraduate students who take part in the lab.

CSU took a tour in the lab on Facebook earlier this week:

Can't see the video? Click here: https://bit.ly/2HfN7Qd