Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2013

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Biological Sciences

Program or Major


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Winsor H. Watson III


Previous studies have shown that most lobsters have a home range in which they reside on a daily basis. The tendency for lobsters to reside in a particular area suggests that they have the ability to learn the characteristics of an area using exploratory behavior. We hypothesize that the exploratory behavior of juvenile lobsters will decrease as time spent in a novel environment increases; specifically exploratory behavior will decrease as the lobsters continuously learn the environment. Exploratory activity of juvenile lobsters was monitored in six lobsters using two separate maze complexities. Lobsters were video recorded and activity was measured based on the distance traveled each day. Lobsters were kept in the maze for ten days; three lobsters were tested in the simple maze and three were tested in the complex maze. A lobster tested in the simple maze followed our hypothesis and showed a continuous decline in activity for several days (activity decreased from 260.55 cms/day to 45.8 cms/day by Day 7) before reaching a constant baseline level. Another lobster tested in the simple maze was only active during the night and showed a steady decline in nighttime activity. Only one of the lobsters tested in the complex maze showed any decline in activity. Overall, these results suggest that lobsters are able to learn at least some features of a simple maze within seven days and that lobsters need far more than ten days to learn the environment of a more complex maze environment.