I spent several years in college researching the ecology of salt marshes in New England. My labmates and I were lucky to have a mentor, Mark Bertness, who readily supported science communication and outreach. A couple years ago, I made a stop-motion animation about our research, entitled Trophic Cascade of the Purple Marsh Crab, which ended up winning “Best Student Film” at the Beneath the Waves Film Festival held in conjunction with the Annual Benthic Ecology Meeting. I had been engrossed in the minutia of this science for a long time, so it was especially rewarding for me to use art and storytelling to share it with others.
Another labmate, Eric Axelman, chooses to communicate our research through a different medium: rap. Not only is Eric a great rapper, he is not afraid of pushing creative boundaries. He combines his narrative lyrics with jazz music and funky beats composed by friends, and always infuses his live performances with high amounts of energy and charisma. In 2012, he wrote a song entitled “Bertness Rock Anthem,” which took the salt marsh rap scene by storm.
Now, he’s back with another. On the surface, “Green Crab Thangs” is about the trials of being a green crab within the diverse assemblage of animals and plants found in salt marshes. But is this song really about crabs or even salt marshes? Decide for yourself:
(P.S. Eric let me play his disobedient green crab daughter in this video. What a blast to visit our familiar study sites armed with props and cameras instead of PVC and meter sticks.)
Other Bertness lab videos: