Thursday, June 26, 2014

2014 Kelsey - Summer work? Or summer fun!

Hello, all! My name is Kelsey Cowen. Although I am not a Doyle Fellow as the other authors on this blog are, I am so excited to have the opportunity of working for NH Sea Grant this summer! I was lucky enough to receive funding from my home institution, Mount Holyoke College, for this internship. Gabby Bradt, my supervisor for the summer, is an alum of MHC, so it is going to be a great experience to work with her!

Sand is apparently delicious...
One of my projects this summer will be working on Gabby's pilot study of micro-debris on NH beaches. Gabby has been working for the past year to gauge the amount of tiny pieces of trash on our local beaches. These bits of trash can be consumed by marine wildlife or small children who decide to turn the beach into a snack (I tried sand when I was about 2... there were tears). We want to figure out just how many of these bits and pieces end up on the NH coast.

In the first stages of her study, Gabby wasn't finding much. Some may consider this a good sign--maybe there just isn't that much trash in NH. But if you take a walk around our beaches, you will see that this is probably not the case. My job with Gabby this summer is to test out a new way of sampling for micro-debris that may provide a more accurate assessment. Last week, we set our stations.

Gabby and I at a recent clean-up of White Island.
Gabby and I will be testing the new protocol on three high-impact beaches in NH--Hampton Beach, North Hampton State Beach, and Jenness Beach. So far, we've managed to section off a single 100-m portion on each beach. These sections will help determine where Gabby and I will sample for the rest of the summer.

There's still a lot more work to do with this project, but a summer spent on NH beaches is not something I will ever complain about. Gabby and I start sampling next week, so stay tuned!

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