A spider crab in front of an artificial whale skull.
A spider crab at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. To the best of our knowledge, this crab is innocent of any scientific crabotage.
Photo by Doug Duran/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

Without a spider crab, studying an underwater volcano is easy. The story of a crab, some geologists just trying to set up their equipment, and a remotely operated vehicle that is locked in seemingly eternal crustacean combat is told in an absolutely delightful field dispatch.

Crab sabotage is expected. The volcanologist from Oregon State University told Burns that there was a battle going on between the two people.

Burns is embedded on a ship with other researchers and is reporting on a serious scientific effort to study an underwater volcano 300 miles off the coast. Scientists were trying to install seismometers on the ocean floor in order to learn more about the volcano. The spider crab decided that it would be a perfect perch before they could seal it off.

Seismometers on land are prone to animal interference. Animals move a lot and they pick up any kind of motion.

Scientists use the equipment in other contexts to track the rumble of elephant herds. It can be a little bit annoying. Evidence of earthquakes is often drowned out by whale songs. Bears tend to maul geology equipment. There are scientific write-ups of the dynamic, with researchers cautioning that future seismic experiments in remote regions of bear country should consider the impact of bears.

The scientists on the boat had to figure out how to shoo the crab away so they could get the data they were looking for. Menace it with his claw. Do you mean all of theabove? Is it possible that the crab would return for revenge?

Science can be fun and even funny when you least expect it. The full story of the "crabotage" can be found here.