I work with Dr. Frank Grasso in the Biomimetic and Cognitive Robotics (BCR) Lab at Brooklyn College. In this lab, we study the behavior of invertebrate animals such as fiddler crabs, axolotls, octopuses along with other animals such as monk parakeets. Lab members also participate in various robotic experiments related to animal behavior. I specifically work with fiddler crabs and their social behavior. Before COVID-19, all members of the lab were required to attend general meetings. These meetings were held to ensure that everyone was aware of the changes made in the lab and the tasks that needed to be done next week were assigned. I would attend the lab regularly and spend approximately 10–15 hours each week. It was a friendly and informative environment.
In addition, group meetings related to our projects were also held to give researchers feedback on their projects. Although schools and colleges have been shut down due to COVID-19, the BCR lab is still active since we were able to transition from our physical lab onto a virtual platform. All the animal systems that were present in the lab were shut down due to the pandemic. The axolotls that we studied in the lab are now safe with Dr. Grasso who now takes care of them at his house. With the abundance of data that was observed and recorded in our lab, we have no shortage of work to get done. The use of resources such as DropBox, email, and Zoom meetings for communication is a must. Due to everyone's dedication to the lab, this transition has gone smoothly.
Mariyum Jahan (Class of 2020)