Thursday, August 11, 2016

Thank you!

Over the last 9 weeks, I have gained experience working with over 100 volunteers on 5 different projects. I learned how eel monitoring was conducted in Oyster River by dedicated volunteers that were passionate about the population numbers in the river. I helped gather water quality samples at Sagamore-Hampton Golf course and helped plant a stream buffer. I worked with many groups teaching the importance of dunes and dunes plant species and how to successfully restore them. I learned how oyster restoration plays a role in the Great bay Estuary and helped with those efforts.
Most recently, my efforts have gone to the project I designed and carried out at Hampton Beach state park. My goals were to identify methods of growing non- dune grass plant species that would further inform future restoration efforts and I am pleased to say my project was successful. I was able to collect seven sets of data over the last seven weeks I got results that showed there was no large influence of using the companion planting method on non- dune grass species. I learned an incredible amount from designing and setting up this experiment. I am proud to say that my results produced information that will be beneficial for further restoration efforts.
Overall, this summer was an invaluable experience and I am very grateful for the people I have met and the knowledge I have gained. Thank you to NH Sea Grant, everyone at the Sea Grant office, UNH Cooperative Extension, and especially Alyson Eberhardt for such an incredible summer. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Beginning of the Fellowship (June 13th - June 24th)

Hello, everyone. My name is Jake Levine, and I will be a senior this fall studying Marine, Estuarine, and Freshwater Biology at the University of New Hampshire. I am so thrilled to be a Brian Doyle Fellow with New Hampshire Sea Grant. I will be working on projects involved with Aquaculture and Fisheries with the guidance of Gabriela Bradt and Michael Chambers. During my first two weeks, I have already started to work on some projects involving seaweed, which happens to be what I'm very interested in!

Odiorne Point State Park, Rye NH. Photo courtesy of Jake Levine
One project that I am currently working on is an improved Edible Seaweed Identification booklet for those who are interested in adding the "vegetables of the sea" to their everyday meals. I have been traveling to different beaches and taking pictures of the seaweed species included in the booklet. My favorite spot to take pictures is at Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, NH (Underwater pictures to come!!). I have found many of the species on my list, including Chondrus crispus, Ulva sp., Saccharina latissima, and many others. Once completed, this booklet will contain the basic information of up to 18 common edible seaweed species along the New Hampshire coastline. This will include a common name, a physical description, its location in the intertidal, its culinary use, and what months are best for its collection. Along with its general information, there will also be "Foraging Tips", which will include tips for safe and sustainable foraging.

The different physical appearance of Chondrus crispus. Photo courtesy of Jake Levine
Another project that I have been working on is the construction of a tumble culture tank for the growth of Gracilaria and Ulva. During my first week, I had collected some of each species and had them in a tank at the Jackson Estuarine Lab in Durham, NH near Adams Point. Unfortunately, most of the organisms did not survive the first attempt. Since then, I have been coming up with a better system that will allow the organisms to survive. Currently, I am in the process of gathering the materials for an aeration system and a filtration system to add to the tank, which will add air into the water and remove any sediments that might decrease the amount of light that enters the tank. 

Current setup of kelp incubation tank at the UNH Coastal Marine Lab. Photo courtesy of Jake Levine.
Along with the tank at the Jackson Estuarine Lab, I am also involved in the improvement of a kelp incubation tank at the Coastal Marine Lab in New Castle, NH. Currently, the tank is extremely bulky and has its electrical equipment close to dripping water. I have been working on different systems that will allow the the kelp to incubate in the most efficient way.  These plans include different shape tanks, different configurations of equipment, and different materials for the entire system.

Stay in tune for upcoming updates on these tanks and the Edible Seaweed booklet, and any other projects that come up!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Week 5 Already?!

Dr. Gregg Moore briefing the students from Bagnall Elementary .
Photo: Kendall Young 
Time is flying by! I am coming to the end of my 4th week and I have learned so much. I have been spending a lot of time working in the dunes at Hampton, Salisbury and Plum Island doing both community outreach and restoration and implementing an experiment I designed to look at dune plant growth.

We hosted students from Bagnall elementary school on the dunes at Plum Island to plant beach grass. Two groups of 40 students were on a private beach front and planted well over 3,000 plants! It is great to see local students so enthusiastic about protecting their beaches at such a young age. 

Alyson Eberhardt assisting me in measuring and staking my plots.
Photo: China Wong 
Me prepping Goldenrod for planting.
Photo: China Wong 
 I have been given to opportunity to design an experiment to examine factors affecting growth of plant species other than dune grass at Hampton Beach State Park. My original plan was to have plots set up at both Hampton Beach as well as Plum Island, but after running into a number of obstacles, I decided to alter my project to one location. I  now have six plots set up at Hampton beach, two on the fore dune (more exposed) and four in the inter dune (more protected). Two of the inter dune locations contain goldenrod (Solidago sempervirenes) and two contain sea rocket (Cekile maritima). I have all of my plots planted and began collecting data this week. I will collect data through my summer with Sea Grant and hopefully continue into the fall with the help of community members to turn my experiment into a citizen science project. There are ups and downs to field ecology and I have learned an incredible amount about setting up experiments and working in the field. I have run into issues with plant survival after transportation, getting enough water to my plots, long hours on the dunes (that one’s not so bad), and working through problems as they arise. I am confident that I will continue to learn more as my project advances. 

Salisbury Beach before community planting project.
Photo: Kendall Young 
Earlier this week, we hosted a community planting event at Salisbury beach. We had a fantastic group of volunteers and quickly reached our planting goals! One thing I noticed while working at this site was how much the community was willing to help. There were locals passing by asking if they could help and offering their homes for water and shade. Local businesses were opening their doors to volunteers for breaks from the heat. It was rewarding to see that the hard work so many people are putting into to restoring the dunes is being noticed and appreciated. 

Another project I worked on a week ago was monitoring the water quality at Sagamore- Hampton Golf course. Sagamore-Hampton Golf course is in the process of getting certification under the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf (more information Here). N.H.Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension’s Coastal Research Volunteer program is assisting in this certification by collecting water quality data from Cornelius Brook and restoring a stream buffers. Next week, with the help of volunteers, we will continue to plant stream buffers to reduce nutrient and sediment inputs.

In the coming weeks I am looking forward to continuing collecting data for my plots, working at Sagamore- Hampton Golf course, more eel monitoring, and getting involved in some oyster restoration efforts.
Check back for updates!

Kendall Young

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Beginning!

Hi everyone! My name is Kendall Young, I will be a senior this fall studying Marine, Estuarine, and Freshwater Biology (MEFB) at University of New Hampshire. I am so excited to be working as a Doyle fellow with NH Sea Grant on Healthy Coastal Ecosystems projects and to be mentored by the amazing Alyson Eberhardt: Coastal Ecosystems Specialist for NHSG and UNH Cooperative Extension. This fellowship will give me the opportunity to gain invaluable experience in experimental design, public communication and outreach, along with exposing me to many different fields that will only benefit me as I move into my final year at University of New Hampshire.
 I grew up in Northern Michigan on the shore of Lake Michigan. I was involved with maintaining a healthy freshwater ecosystem from a young age. Growing up, I would spend countless hours on the beach and I cannot remember a time I wasn’t fascinated by the organisms and the diversity of aquatic life. My family would visit the ocean often and that only expanded my curiosity of marine aquatic life. As I have gotten older and more involved in marine and freshwater biology I am devastated by how quickly ecosystems are declining.
I started my first week with NHSG working with coastal research volunteers on the Eel Monitoring Project. This project is assisting NH Fish and Game on tracking the abundance of American Eels into Oyster River. Alyson has an extensive knowledge of eels and has made me fall in love with them! So far I have recorded over 300 eels in only three days working on this project. 

Later in the week I worked alongside Alyson, Dr. Gregg Moore, Chris Peter and Dr. David Burdick on Plum Island with community volunteers and Hill View Montessori Public Charter School planting Beach grass (Ammophila brevilgulata) in areas of decreased populations. I am particularly excited for this project because when I was in elementary school, I was in the school groups being brought out into the field and educated about the importance of restoration and protection of the Sleeping Bear Dunes national Lakeshore.  Now, working on the dunes at Hampton Beach State Park and on Plum Island, I feel like I have an opportunity to significantly contribute to what this project is working towards. 

Alyson has presented me with an opportunity to be a part of many different projects this summer. Along with the Dune restoration and Eel monitoring, I look forward to spending time working with the Sagamore- Hampton Golf Club on Water quality monitoring, working with oyster restoration, and possibly some experience with fisheries and aquaculture.
I have been given an opportunity to conduct an experiment over the course of my internship to find a method that will increase the survival and growth of important plant species found in areas of the dunes. Check back for more details on this experiment as it is still under design!
I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with the talented researchers at NH Sea Grant and UNH Corporative Extension. I hope to learn more about communicating with coastal communities and maintaining a healthy coastal habitat!
Check back for updates!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

It's Summer 2016!

We embark on another productive summer with our new Doyle Fellows. Sea Grant would like to welcome Kendall Young and Jake Levine, both seniors here at UNH and majoring in marine, estuarine, and freshwater biology.

Follow their journey this summer and see what they're up to!