Laboratory Exercise Using Digital Images of Specimens from the Peabody Museum
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Laboratory Exercise Using Digital Images of Specimens from the Peabody Museum. Developed from a workshop held at the Yale Peabody Museum, July 2013 Sponsored by the National Science Foundation and hosted by the Division of Invertebrate Zoology in conjunction with Peabody Museum Public Education.

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Laboratory exercise using digital images of specimens from the peabody museum

Laboratory Exercise Using Digital Images of Specimens from the Peabody Museum

Developed from a workshop held at the Yale Peabody Museum, July 2013

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation and hosted by the Division of Invertebrate Zoology in conjunction with Peabody Museum Public Education


Morphological variation in the asian shore crab hemigrapsus sanguineus

Morphological Variation in the Asian Shore Crab, the Peabody MuseumHemigrapsussanguineus


General data gathering
General Data Gathering the Peabody Museum

  • Distinguish between males and females by examining the underside of the crabs

  • Make carapace measures using the dorsal images of the crabs

  • Using the chelae (claw) images, measure “hand height” and “hand length” of each

  • Enter raw values into Excel; distinguish between individual crabs by referencing catalog number embedded in picture


Sex determination in crabs
Sex Determination in Crabs the Peabody Museum

  • Examine the underside of a crab (image)

  • Males have narrowed abdominal plate; the sides are often somewhat concave; plate does not cover entire underside

  • Females have a broadly rounded abdominal plate; lateral margins convex; plate covers most or all of underside



Carapace measures variable 1 and 2 carapace length cl and carapace w idth cw
Carapace measures, variable 1 and 2: the Peabody MuseumCarapace Length (CL) and Carapace Width (CW)


Chelae measures variables 3 and 4 chelae height chh and chelae l ength chl
Chelae measures, variables 3 and 4: the Peabody MuseumChelae Height (ChH) and Chelae Length (ChL)


Rules to remember
Rules to remember the Peabody Museum

  • To get accurate results one must be consistent in measuring

  • Strive for perpendicular measures

  • Lengths and widths should reflect absolute longest/widest distances


Measurement techniques
Measurement Techniques the Peabody Museum

  • Use marks on paper held to screen image to measure a distance

  • Compare distance to scale bar; small gradations are millimeters

  • Record length to nearest 0.5 millimeter

  • Most accurate measure will be from the edge of one gradation to another (black edge to black edge)



Compare measurement to scale bar 21 mm in this example
Compare measurement to scale bar computer screen (21 mm in this example)


Alternative measurement technique calipers reversed to hide numbers avoids confusion
Alternative measurement technique: computer screen Calipers, reversed to hide numbers (avoids confusion)



Data capture
Data Capture measuring

  • Students, working in teams, should first enter raw data manually on the data worksheet provided

  • Data are next consolidated into an Excel spreadsheet, see next panel for example

  • Note that all measures are recorded individually, before the ratios are derived; allows for auditing of data and results

  • Consider highlighting in a different color questionable/irregular variables such as indeterminable sex or left chelae substitutions (when right was missing); allows for isolation and removal from analysis if necessary







Data analysis
Data Analysis measuring

  • Simplest example will be to calculate the ratio of chelae height versus chelae length

  • Comparison will be made between males and females, i.e. which has the more robust claw?

  • Carapace length versus width is another simple metric to measure and compare between males and females – who is stouter?

  • Refer to instructional document for details


Additional considerations
Additional Considerations measuring

  • Many more variables can be added:

  • Width between the eyes (orbital width)

  • Length of major section of one or more legs (“femur length” or second article)

  • Dactyl length (i.e. moveable “finger”) on chelae

  • Consider testing data without the left-hand claws – does this make a difference?


Further questions to consider
Further Questions to Consider measuring

  • How would collecting more specimens affect the analysis?

  • What other comparisons may be useful, such as temporal and geographical variables, and what would the results potentially indicate?

  • What would more robust claws in one sex potentially indicate, and why?