Monday, December 29, 2008

Run, Shrimp, Run

Posted by John Stoehr on Mon, Dec 29, 2008 at 2:46 PM

The College of Charleston got a lot of national attention last month thanks to a tireless shrimp. NBC's Today Show featured two scientists — one from CofC's Grice Marine Laboratory, the other from the Pacific University in Oregon — who were researching the health of shrimp in a drastically changing environment.

They put a shrimp on a treadmill to determine what happens to shrimp when they are sick from pollutants, bacteria, etc. The experiment was recorded and posted on YouTube. It quickly went viral. Some clever minds set the shrimp to music — "Chariots of Fire," the Benny Hill theme song, the Rocky soundtrack, OK Go (which also captivated viewers with its own treadmill-inspired video). The shrimp video has been seen more than a million times, with hundreds of comments and numerous iterations.

Not exactly the kind of reaction that serious scientists would expect. But the CofC is looking for that kind of attention. It has built a page on YouTube that features a video contest, faculty profiles, news for and by students, and other kinds of marketing. It's part of a larger trend among colleges, like UC-Berkeley and Vanderbilt University, to market themselves to potential students and raise their national profiles.

After the shrimp got famous, what's next? Crabs, of course.


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