Physics of the Interaction between a Crab and a Seismic Test Pulse – Development of a Mathematical Model and Testing of Model via Simulation

Experimental attempts to establish whether seismic testing has any impact on crabs and the crab fishery have been hampered by a lack of theoretical work on the subject. As a result, experimenters have not known what effects to look for or what threshold sound levels might be problematic for crabs. This study establishes the theoretical work to guide future experiments examining the physical effects of seismic testing on invertebrates. The study used a simple model of a snow crab and, using basic acoustical theory, calculated the amplitude of vibrations inside the crab. In the first stage of the study, the crab was modeled as a spherical, elastic shell, with a fluid interior. Material properties of crab tissues were added and combined with the calculated vibrational amplitudes to predict what minimum sound levels might cause physical damage.


Principal Investigator: Dr. Geoffrey Lee-Dadswell, Cape Breton University

June 2009 – September 2011