I finished my small hobby experiments in the lab, with the E. affinis that I collected in May and June from Pärnu Bay. As I wrote in my previous post, the aim of the pilot of this experiment was to determine, whether I will be able to grow these animals in the lab over several generations, which is needed in case you want to do any meaningful experiments with them.
The result - even after 4th generation, the animals were still happy and alive. They grew well in several temperatures (+7, +17), and feeding them with Brachiomonas and Isochrysis seemed to work.
An interesting and unplanned part of the experiment took place on its own. In my first trip in May, I also brought large amount of seawater with me, to be used in experiments. Several months later, when I was filtering water for my cultures, I discovered some animals still alive in these containers - despite of high temperature, low oxygen (probably, since the 10 L containers were tightly closed), and no new food - they were not so big, but alive! (E. affinis). So I decided to pick out these animals, and transfer them into a nutritious medium with nice regular meals of Brachiomonas, and at room temperature (17 C, air conditioned lab). In one week only, these animals had grown into nice fat adults with huge egg sacs (compared to my carefully reared +7 C bacthes).
Also, thanks to careful transfer of animals from one generation to the next, I managed to get rid of the overgrowth that was infecting many animals in the first round of cultures.
Since I could not, however, come up with any meaningful experiment itself at the moment (e.g. because I realised the effect of food and temperature on their body size is quite well studies in general, and not so exciting), then I decided to finish the experiments and my cultures in the lab for the time being. I do have, however, some ideas, and a desire to study them (or probably different, freshwater species), for the purposes of aquaculture. But there are some other things I need to finish before that.