Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thank you!

This is the last week of my Doyle Fellowship. I would like to thank The New Hampshire Sea Grant for this great opportunity they have given me. A special thanks to Alyson and Caitlin for guiding me throughout the summer, teaching me valuable experiences.

One of the best experiences I had this summer was seeing how The Sea Grant and UNH Extension connects with citizens in the area about issues related to their communities. I also got valuable experience on field data collection during all the projects I was a part of. Lastly the information I learned about coastal ecology and the in depth importance of these valuable systems. I look forward to continuing my studies at UNH using all the experiences I learned this summer.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Update

Over the last few weeks I have spent my fellowship working on several projects with The Sea Grant and The Nature Conservancy.
In July I did a snapchat takeover with the University of New Hampshire to show students the work being done to study horseshoe crab populations around Great Bay. Snapchat is a social media app that lets you send photos and short videos to people to communicate. The University of New Hampshire has an account that is followed by about 4,000 students and lets students use it for a day to share their projects or events. I thought sharing the research being done on horseshoe crabs was important because it is happening so close to campus that students can get involved and volunteer without traveling to the seacoast. UNH saved the takeover and added it to their youtube page. To view it follow this link: https://youtu.be/kFnAfCadsmY
At the end of July I attended The Beaches Conference in Wells Maine. This conference is focused on the condition of local beaches from Maine and New Hampshire organizations. These organizations included: New Hampshire Sea Grant, Maine Sea Grant, The University of Maine, UNH, The Maine and New Hampshire Coastal Programs, and many others. I attended many seminars that shared research and strategies to engage communities in building resilient coastlines. I thought the conference was great, I learned so much about the beaches in the Gulf of Maine, and met all the people involved in these projects.
Throughout the last month I have been helping The Nature Conservancy with their oyster restoration project. The goal of this project is to restore the oyster population of great bay that has been diminished by disease and silt. The projected started by taking dead oyster shells, donated by local restaurants, and putting them in oyster cages. We then placed the cages into large tanks and added oyster spawn that estimated to be 12.5 million oyster larvae.

The shells from local restaurants used to fill the cages

All the cages filled with shells before they are placed in the tanks


The raft that the oyster cages are tied too
After the larvae settle out of the water column onto the shells, the being to grow. After a few weeks, we took the cages out of the tanks and tied them onto a raft in Great Bay for them to grow large enough to see them. This week we took cages out of the water to cout the spat, baby oysters, on the shells of some cages to get a subsample of the success rate of the spawn settling. For the rest of the summer the cages will be delivered to volunteers around great by that will monitor the growth of their cage from their docks. At the end of the summer the oysters will be added to the existing oyster reef in Great Bay to help restore the depleted population.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Meghan 2017

Updates:
    As my fellowship winds down I have been compiling data, making a field guide, making a story map, and collecting our traps. In addition, we have also switched over from only collecting males to only collecting females. As the Summer has progressed, females are now molting. We found about 5 or 6 soft shell females at Adam's Point Landing yesterday. Dr. Bradt will be continuing the work with the females for the remainder of the Summer.
    So far we have had 27 molts out of 123 crabs that we put into individual containers. Of these 27, 5 were an orange coloration which was believed to be a terminal molt, however now we know that this isn't always the case. In addition, The size classes that grew the most were crabs with carapaces 1.8 and 2.2 inches prior to molting. There were 5 crabs in each size class that molted. On July 3rd and 4th we had the most crabs molt in one day. On both the 3rd and 4th, 4 crabs had molted. We think that this may have been because of the temperature, which was around 20 degrees Celsius.
    Next year it would be interesting to put go pros in the large tanks so we could actually see the molting process happen. Also, I was asked how many times a Summer green crabs molt and I wasn't sure about the answer. An idea for next Summer is to keep the molted crabs in the tanks and see if they molt again instead of release them or cook them like we did.
    Thank you to NH Sea Grant and the Doyle Fellowship for an awesome experience! Can't wait to see soft shell green crabs on the menu one day!
A molted green crab and its orange carapace
Kids in Ogunquit at Footbridge Beach were catching green crabs with nets and using hot dogs as bait
Thank you!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

My First Week

Hello, My name is Trevor Burns, I will be a senior this coming fall at the University of New Hampshire studying Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater Biology. This summer I have the opportunity to work with Alyson Eberhardt and Caitlin Peterson thanks to the Brian E. Doyle fellowship. Throughout the next couple months I will be taking part in many coastal research and restoration projects. These projects include: sand dune restoration, glass eel monitoring, horseshoe crab surveys, and oyster restoration.
During this summer I will be creating a Story map with ArcGIS to show the work being done by the UNH Coastal Habitat Restoration Team on sand dune restoration. I am very excited to take part in these projects and learn more about the volunteer groups in the area.
On my first day I helped the UNH Coastal Habitat Restoration Team taking part in Beach grass planting on Plum island in Newburyport Massachusetts. A field trip of 40 fourth graders from a local elementary school came to help plant in the diminishing sand dune. By the end of the day we planted over 2,000 plants in the dune to help its resilience to storms.
The following week I worked on two ongoing surveys. I joined the Coastal Research Volunteers with a glass eel research project, in partnership with  New Hampshire Fish and Game, to monitor abundance and pigmentation of the eels in the Oyster river in Durham New Hampshire. Likely due to the cold wet spring we had, abundance was low this season. I also helped volunteers with an UNH graduate student’s survey on horseshoe crabs in Great Bay. There, I saw a lot of breeding pairs along the shoreline of the Great Bay Discovery Center.
Horseshoe crabs along the water at the Great Bay Discovery Center
(Greenland, NH)
On the friday of my first full week I helped Alyson and Catlin at Hampton Beach State Park transplanting common dune plants from walking paths in the dune to the Common Garden. These plants were in threat of being destroyed with upcoming human activity of summer. We carefully took these plants and added them into the Common Garden for them to grow safely. The Common Garden is used to grow native dune  plants that can help against coastal erosion. Coastal landowners can use this resource by obtaining free plants to transplant into their yards to help protect their property from future damages.


Myself watering the plants at the end of the day.
Over the next few weeks I will continue to work on these projects as well as start helping The Nature Conservancy with their oyster restoration project in Great Bay. I look forward to continuing these projects and learning more about the importance of our coastlines. Also, to continue to understand how NH Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension connects to NH’s citizens  the Coastal Research Volunteers, and The Nature Conservancy to help protect and sustainably use our natural resources.
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Friday, June 16, 2017

2017 Meghan

Happy Friday! Here are some updates about what I have been up to:
       On a daily basis I check our five crab traps and take all of the crabs inside the trap back to the lab. Our traps are currently located in Seabrook, Hampton, and 3 near the Jackson Estuarine Lab. Once back at the lab, I sort the males and females in order to get a sex ratio from each location. The females I have been giving to an oyster project or to Winn Watson's tank. The males I keep and sort depending on if I think they are premolt or imminent. The premolt, male crabs go inside one tank and the imminent, male crabs go into individual containers that are labelled with the date and numbers. The crabs in the individual containers are photographed every other day in order to see what they look like when they are about to molt. Below is a photo of one of our five traps. 


  In addition to doing sex ratios at each location and seeing the morphological signs of molting, I have also been foraging for green crabs with Dr. Bradt. I even brought a few down to Gloucester where they cooked them for us. Today I brought about 12 soft shell crabs, that I found near the boat ramp on Adam's Point Road, to a restaurant called the Joinery in Newmarket. I watched the chef, Brendan, prepare the crabs by removing their eyes, gills, and sex organs by flipping open the crab's abdomen and cutting it off. Below is a picture of the soft shell crab that was prepared for me at Tonno restaurant in Gloucester. It was fried, put over a relish, and drizzled with spicy mayo-similar to what you are given with sushi.
 -Meghan