Survey Blitz!

Last week the summer field season officially began with a rocky intertidal survey blitz!

The entire Bracken Lab worked their tails off to survey the rocky intertidal biodiversity from here (Nahant, MA) to Lubec, ME; sampling 11 sites over 2 degrees of latitude and almost 400 (straight land) miles.

Map of the 11 sites surveyed in the GoM

Our main goal was to look at how both tidal elevation (i.e. time spent exposed to air) and geography influences biodiversity and community structure on the rocky shores of the Gulf of Maine (GoM). Since we did the same thing two years ago we’ll also hopefully get a sense of whether things change over time – definitely need more year samples for this question but two time points is a start!

To get the job done we split into two groups of 3 to cover the large geographic area. Each team used transects, quadrats, data sheets, and laser levels to quantify the species present and tidal elevation every 3-meters from the water line to the high intertidal.

Left to right: Scuba smurf inspects survey gear, Christine Newton sets up a transect line for survey (Photos by Natalie Low)

Day 1 was a beautiful sunny day but as the week progressed the weather changed for the worse; luckily it only poured on us on the very last day!

Left to right: Week long progression of beautiful weather on day 1 to pouring rain on day 4. Sites: Cranberry Rd, Gouldsboro, ME; Bracy Cove, ME; Marshall Point, ME; and Newagen Seaside Inn, ME (Photos by Natalie Low)

Besides surveying, we also collected algal tissue samples for DNA, water samples for nutrient and chlorophyll analysis, took in funny Maine signs, quickly toured Acadia National Park, saw alewife jump up a 100+ year old fish ladder, rolled around in the grass a bit, and caught a gorgeous downeast sunset!

Left to right / top to bottom: Me processing algae tissue in make shift field lab in Darling Center cabin; James filtering water in make shift field lab in the field (!); Maine-ly Meat Restaurant; Natalie, me and Christine in Acadia NP; Alewife fish ladder in Damariscotta, ME; grass roll; and sunset. (Photos by Natalie Low)

All-in-all it was a fun and productive week… Now, back to data entry!


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