How Old Is Your Lobster? A Scientific Quest




  • Producer Michael Schubert
  • How Old Is Your Lobster? A Scientific Quest

Age determination in any population of animals is vital information for understanding the ecology of the system they inhabit and if you are part of our food chain, essential for good management.  Enter the lobster, or any crustacean who lives beyond a couple of years.  No one knows how old you are because you shed your exoskeleton and don’t have any boney parts.   Or do you?

Dr Daniel Bucher of Southern Cross University managed a scientific quest with young knights, fine surgical blades (Excalibur), all a result of an investigative mind and good supervision.  Discover how a fisherman researching the age of beach worms triggered a quest that resulted in a way to accurately date the age of our long lived crustaceans.


danielDr Daniel Bucher is a marine ecologist and  Senior Lecturer and researcher in the School of Environment, Science and Engineering at Southern Cross University (Lismore).  He has particular interests in the biodiversity of subtidal habitats such as reefs and sediment. Another area of interest is the ageing and growth studies of marine species including fish, worms, crustaceans and molluscs.

Daniel also scored a ‘hat trick’ at the 2015 National Finals of the 5 Minute Research  Competition, where academics are limited to 5 minutes and 3 slides. Daniel won the best overall pitch, along with the Science and Health section and the People’s Choice category with The quest for the grail: direct ‎age determination of ‎crabs and ‎lobsters’.  [Watch video below.]


Black of White Oar by PC III
Waiting For The Click
by David Krayb


Ornate Rock Lobster, Panulirus ornatus [photo: Robert Kerton, CSIRO]