P.O. Box 235, Friendship, ME 04547 (207) 832-8224 www.lobsters.org
May 1, 2000
Dear Volunteers and Friends of The Lobster Conservancy,Spring is here and our activity is kicking into full swing. Here's an update on preparations for launching the Year 2000 sampling season.
Volunteers are gearing up for the Year 2000 Intertidal Lobster Monitoring Program (alias, Baby Lobster Watch), which begins on May 4. We have 23 veteran volunteers who are committed to monitoring 15 sites throughout Maine and New Hampshire. We have decided to drop sites where lobsters were not found last year, including 10 sites in the Penobscot Bay Region. Establishing information on areas where lobsters were absent was valuable to support our earlier findings that intertidal baby lobsters do not tend to be found in inner portions of enbayments. Thanks go to the volunteers who persevered at these sites last year.
Efforts are well underway to expand the Baby Lobster Watch throughout the Gulf of Maine to new sites in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. In April, Diane and Sara traveled to Massachusetts to scout for promising sites. After seeking advice from Bruce Estrella, Bob Glenn, and Brad Chase of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries we decided to look at sites near Cape Ann, Marblehead, Nahant, Hull, and Manomet.
Lobsterman Peter Prybot led TLC to potential new lobster monitoring sites on Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Photo by Sara Ellis
Gloucester lobsterman Peter Prybot provided local knowledge by guiding us to places where he had previously seen juvenile lobsters, including Plum Cove in Lanesville and Loblolly Cove in Rockport, both of which seem to have good potential as new sites. In Marblehead, art teacher Ellie Tomlinson and science teacher Lainie Ives (Tower School) took us to Gerry Island where they have seen baby lobsters in tide pools over the years. Despite low temperatures and poor weather conditions we found two juvenile lobsters. Sara will be giving a presentation at the Shore Lea Nature Center in Marblehead on May 6, 7 pm, to let locals know about our work and recruit volunteers.
Teachers Ellie Tomlinson (left) and Lainie Ives showed us where to find baby lobsters in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Photo by Sara Ellis
Nahant and Hull did not show great promise for the type of habitat we monitor. Therefore, we will investigate other areas and find alternative sites nearby. The last site we checked out in Massachusetts was Manomet Point. Our guides Bob Glenn and Matt Camisa from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries led us to the lobsters. New volunteer Chad Keith of the National Marine Fisheries Service in Woods Hole was trained in the fine art of intertidal lobster sampling and has committed to monitoring Manomet along with colleague Heather Sagar.
A big thanks to everyone who helped to make our first Massachusetts survey a great success! The results of our April scouting are extremely encouraging. We are especially pleased to be working with local fishermen and school teachers, as well as with folks from the state and federal fisheries agencies.
In New Hampshire, Dr. Win Watson, Professor of Zoology at UNH, has made suggestions about intertidal sites near locations where he has conducted subtidal sampling of lobsters. Dr. Watson has offered to show us these potential sites in the near future. Veteran New Hampshire volunteers Al Stewart and Bobbi Costello will be training Timothea Jouse and Julie Ligon to take over the long-term site at Odiorne Point State Park. This will free them up to scout for new sites in coordination with Dr. Watson.
As for Maine, TLC has begun a partnership with Friends of Casco Bay (FOCB). Mike Doan, Mary Cerullo, and volunteers from FOCB will be working to help us expand the Baby Lobster Watch to the western part of Casco Bay. Potential new sites include Chebeague Island, Long Island, and Cape Elizabeth. Further south, in Wells, we are partnering with Laudholm Farm and the Wells Estuarine Reserve, where intern Bryan Watson plans to take on a monitoring site. And finally, new TLC volunteer Patrice Farrey, Associate Director of the Maine Lobstermen's Association, will be joining Enid White in search of those elusive lobbies.
Long-term Monitoring of Juvenile Lobsters
Juvenile lobsters have not yet returned from their wintering grounds in any significant numbers. Diane and Sara found only two juveniles at Lowell's Cove and one at Deep Cove near Lobster Gut in April. We expect many more to return to each site next month when volunteers resume their seasonal sampling. In general, near shore juvenile lobster densities are relatively high May through November and low December through April. Therefore, most of our sampling effort is concentrated during May through November. Nonetheless, it has been important to search during December through April to establish seasonal patterns and determine their underlying cause. In general, the seasonal pattern appears to be strongly temperature driven, with the juvenile lobsters becoming active when the water temperature reaches approximately 50oF.
Friendship Lobster Laboratory
Gulf of Maine water temperatures remain in the low 40's and lobster activity is slow. In the pound at the Friendship Lobster Laboratory (FLL), lobsters are feeding and grooming a bit more than they did before the ice went out. However, things are still pretty quiet. Henry Thompson donated another large male to the pound to include in our tagging study. On April 24, board member Carl Anderson helped launch our second boat, Awe Spray.
The students from the Student Chapter of American Congress on Surveying & Mapping and the American Society of Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing (ACSM / ASPRS) who surveyed the pound last fall completed their project this spring. The contour map they produced is a useful tool for planning and implementing projects at the FLL. Thanks again to the students involved (see Winter 99/00 newsletter and the Maine Perspective article for details).
News from the Board of Directors
The Board of Directors held their annual meeting in Friendship on March 25. The main emphasis of the meeting was long-range planning as our organization continues to grow. Thank you to volunteer Pat Seward for putting together a tasty working lunch.
Outreach and Education News
Spring has been a busy time for interacting with colleagues and establishing new relationships. As mentioned above we began a partnership with Friends of Casco Bay (FOCB). Many visitors including Carl Wilson (Maine Department of Marine Resources), Sherm Hoyt (University of Maine Cooperative Extension), Alan Lishness & Courtney Coles (Gulf of Maine Aquarium) and Mike Wall have traveled to the Friendship Lobster Laboratory to learn about our pound projects and plans.
Diane gave presentations for the Chebeague Historical Society and Professor Jack Ney's Resource Management course at Southern Maine Technical College. Amy Watson visited Harpswell Islands School to share her enthusiasm for the Baby Lobster Watch.
Amy Trumbull, a student at Bowdoin College is volunteering for TLC as part of her course in "Topics in Environmental Geoscience". Students in Professor Ed Laine's class are given the opportunity to explore an area of geology or environmental science by applying their skills in the real-world environment. Amy's project is to develop prototype maps of our monitoring sites, using data from the Office of Geographical Information Systems and GPS data she collects at sites in Harpswell. Amy has also been helping to enter volunteer data into our database.
Bowdoin student Amy Trumbull is mapping intertidal monitoring sites using GPS and GIS. Photo by Sara Ellis
In early April, Diane and Sara were fortunate to be invited to participate in a retreat in Prout's Neck for grantees and other friends of the Collaboration of Community Foundations for the Gulf of Maine (CCF). The meeting was organized by Robin Alden and Ala Reid and was a wonderful opportunity to meet with other members of fisheries-oriented non-profit organizations as well as funders who support our work.
Donations are still arriving in response to our last year's Annual Campaign. Thanks again to those of you who have been able to contribute.
We are pleased to report that the Maine Community Foundation (MCF) is helping fund the expansion of the Baby Lobster Watch into southern Maine and New Hampshire. The grant was made from the Community Fisheries Project of the Collaboration of Community Foundations for the Gulf of Maine. In the early days of TLC, Maine Community Foundation provided critical support that helped to launch our organization, and last year they funded the publication of the volunteer handbook, which has proven to be a useful educational tool. We are grateful for MCF's continuing support.
One last bookkeeping note: our mailing address has changed to P.O. Box 235, Friendship, Maine 04547.
Yours in TLC and Friendship,
Sara Ellis, Executive Director and Diane Cowan, Senior Scientist