P.O. Box 235, Friendship, ME 04547 (207) 832-8224 www.lobsters.org
June 28, 2000
Dear Volunteers and Friends of The Lobster Conservancy,Our volunteer research program (Intertidal Lobster Monitoring Program, a.k.a. Baby Lobster Watch) is in full swing! The lobsters have returned to each and every site where we've found them before. Many additional monitoring sites have been located and new volunteers continue to be trained. Happy summer and keep up the terrific work!
The second month of Baby Lobster Watch 2000 was very productive. We now have 46 volunteers monitoring 24 sites from Isle au Haut, Maine to Manomet Point, Massachusetts.
In Penobscot Bay, Mike Wall teamed up with lobstermen Richard Wall and Scott Rome to sample at Allen Island. They found 24 lobsters ranging in size from 30-51 mm carapace length (CL). At Drift Inn Beach, Jane Roundy and Julie Wortman recorded 13 lobsters (27-55 mm CL) and were pleased that lobster abundance was up from the previous month. Lobsterman Alfred Petterson returned from southern climates and began sampling again at Waterman Point along with Ben Neal and Annette Naegel. They decided to scout for a new sampling area, and found many lobsters burrowed under clumps of mussels and in crevices between boulders. Altogether they found 12 lobsters (35-72 mm CL) in two 10-meter transects. On Isle au Haut, Kipp and Trent Quinby found 14 lobsters, ranging from 16-46 mm CL, which was way up from last month. On Vinalhaven, John and Ginger Van Ness found 6 lobsters (29-55 mm CL) in rocky intertidal habitat and another 6 (40-68 mm CL) in eel grass beds. Greg Kibitz is still looking for a productive lobster nursery ground. He has ruled out Crescent Beach in the Owl's Head area, but hopes to be able to check out Birch Point State Park in July. On Matinicus Island, Eva, Eric, and Emily Murray did not find any lobsters on their first sampling session of the season, but had a great time checking out all the other intertidal creatures.
The big news in Harpswell this month was that long-time TLC volunteer Corie Bibber married her sweetheart, Chris Logan. Congratulations Corie and Chris! We wish you great happiness. Showing her typical dedication, Corie still found time to go out and monitor her 2 long-term sites. At Little Harbor, Mrs. Bibber Logan found 10 lobsters, with the smallest one being only 15 mm CL (range 15-44 mm CL). At Mackerel Cove, Corie found another 4 lobbies along her transect and an additional 2 elsewhere (15-33 mm CL). The Lobster Conservancy welcomes back veteran lobster sampler Kristine Osolin who has returned from U. Maine Orono for the summer. Kristine found 6 lobsters (29-50 mm CL) at her monitoring site on Potts Point. Kristine's parents, Ned and Kathy Osolin, went out to Jaquish Island on a gorgeous Sunday morning and found 21 lobsters (27-46 mm CL) along their transect. Amy Watson reports that things are back to normal at Cundy's Harbor where Amy found 4 lobsters (30-40 mm CL) along her transect, and 2 more while searching randomly.
Helen Muther (left) teamed up with Mike Doan, Meaghan Murphy and Mary Cerullo from Friends of Casco Bay to find lobsters on Cape Elizabeth. Photo by Diane F. Cowan
In Western Casco Bay, volunteers have established two new sites in coordination with TLC and Friends of Casco Bay (FOCB). On Cape Elizabeth, Helen Muther was thrilled to find intertidal lobsters directly in front of her home on Broad Sound. Helen was accompanied by Mike Doan, Mary Cerullo, and Meaghan Murphy of FOCB, and together they found 14 lobsters (25-45 mm CL) while searching randomly. Next month they will try quadrat sampling along a transect. On Chebeague Island, Mac Passano, Beth Howe, Erno Bonebakker, and Beverly Johnson went back to Bennett Cove where they found 4 lobsters (34-53 mm CL) in 10 quadrats.
In Southern Maine, Enid White and Patrice Farrey proved that perseverance pays off. They found not one, but two, areas with juveniles in none other than Lobster Cove, York. They discovered 10 lobsters (36-58 mm CL) while searching randomly, and will set up a transect next time. Bryan Watson also succeeded in finding lobsters at a site where he hadn't found any in May due to low tidal exposure. Bryan found 11 lobsters (29-37 mm CL) on a spit of rocks that sticks out from Wells Beach, but found out the hard way that the tide really races back in there!
In New Hampshire, long-time volunteer Al Stewart did some random sampling while scouting out potential new sites. Al found 10 lobsters (34-45 mm CL) at the north end of Wallis Sands Beach in Rye, and 8 juveniles (32-57 mm CL) on the rocky northeast side of Fort Stark in New Castle. Al took Sara back to Fort Stark the next day, where they continued to scout around the point, looking for a concentrated nursery area. University of New Hampshire graduate student Dan O'Grady assisted in the search, and helped to find and measure 9 lobsters (29-51 mm CL) in the muddy southwestern side of the point. It was this location where Sara later trained new volunteers Brian Jervis, Jim County, and John and Carolyn Payzant, all of whom are volunteers in the UNH Marine Docents program. At Odiorne Point, Timothea Jousse and Julie Ligon found 5 lobsters (29-43 mm CL) on a quiet Friday morning.
Scott Fletcher led TLC to lobster nursery grounds in Scituate, Massachusetts. Photo by Sara Ellis
In Massachusetts, Scott Fletcher lead Sara to an interesting lobster nursery in Scitutate. It looks much like the one in Wells, as it is a spit of cobble along an otherwise sandy beach. Scott's eagle eyes picked out 16 resident lobsters (29-43 mm CL). We have yet to identify volunteers to monitor this site. The next day, Sara trained Lanesville residents Pat Earle, Astrid af Klinteberg, and Cindy Dunn to monitor Plum Cove in Gloucester. As we expected, this has turned out to be a rich lobster nursery area, with the team turning up 11 juvenile lobsters (39-51 mm CL). Sara is grateful for Pat and Richard Earle's generous hospitality. In Marblehead, Oddvar Solstad and Sean Sullivan found a whopping 30 lobsters, including one that measured only 13 mm in carapace length (range, 13-51 mm CL). Once again, the story wasn't so sweet at TLC's southernmost monitoring site, Manomet Point, where Chad Keith and Heather Sagar found no lobsters.
Long-term Tagging of Juvenile Lobsters
On Friendship Long Island, we spent two low tides at Deep Cove in Lobster Gut. Sara and Diane did their usual sampling on the first day. Therese Maddock, visiting from the Irish Lobstermen's Association, recorded data on the second day. In all, we tagged 48 lobsters and caught one animal that was too small to tag. Therese and Diane found the first Friendship recapture at Deep Cove. The average density was 1.4 lobsters per meter squared. Lobsters ranged in size from 11-64 mm CL. Therese was quite impressed to see the lobster nursery especially because researchers have been unable to locate the nursery grounds of the closely- related European lobster, Homarus gammarus.
Polly Wilson and daughter Anne Barrett help Diane survey lobsters at Lowell's Cove. Photo by Sara Ellis
Lowell's Cove remains the most productive nursery site. Polly Wilson and her daughter Anne Barrett helped to sample transects at Lowell's Cove, where there are so many lobsters one team is unable to finish 20 quadrats in one tidal cycle. Of the 86 lobsters sampled and measured, 3 were recaptures. Lowell's Cove lobsters ranged in size from 16-54 mm CL. Molting activity was prevalent.
Friendship Lobster Lab
Island Institute intern Tim Dwyer helped remove the aeration system from the pound before setting up lobster habitat. Photo by Sara Ellis
The lobster pound was drained to facilitate removal of the aeration system and begin construction of lobster condominiums, villages, and cities. Many thanks to Tim Dwyer, a recent graduate of Bowdoin College and currently an intern at the Island Institute, and Teddy Coates, island resident, for their help with preparing the pound for lobster research. Henry Thompson, Sr. brought in another five-pound lobster to add to our growth studies of oversized lobsters. His timing was perfect, as he presented the monster in the presence of writer Holly Parker. Holly is preparing a piece for National Fisherman keep an eye out for the September issue. Tina Berger, Public Affairs & Resource Specialist for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, also visited the laboratory to learn about our work, plans, and dreams for the lobster pounds.
Outreach and Education
Girl Scouts from the Brunswick area learned about lobsters and other crustaceans at Camporee 2000. Photo by Sara Ellis
Diane presented a workshop on the "Crustacean Body Plan" for the Girl Scout Camporee at Thomas Point in Brunswick on June 3. She and Sara collected many crustaceans and explained how they make a living. The lobsters stole the show!
On June 6 and 7, Sara spoke at the monthly meetings of University of New Hampshire Marine Docents and Great Bay Coast Watch. Thanks go to Sharon Meeker and Ann Reid of New Hampshire Sea Grant for squeezing TLC into their already-full itineraries. Reporter Robert Emro attended one of the resulting volunteer-training sessions and wrote a great article about TLC's Baby Lobster Watch in Fosters Sunday Citizen (www.lobsters.org/press/fosters.html).
Keep in mind that Volunteer Appreciation Day will be held on Saturday August 19th (with Sunday August 20th as a rain date) at the Friendship Lobster Laboratory. We plan to have a feast to thank volunteers, past and present, for the many hours they have put towards lobster monitoring and other tasks at The Lobster Conservancy. We're looking for someone to design Baby Lobster Watch T-shirts in time for the event, so if you're feeling creative and would like to take on this project, please contact us as soon as possible.
On July 19 at 7 pm, Diane and Sara will give a public presentation at the Martin Point Community House on Martin Point Rd. in Friendship entitled "Lobster Life Cycle: From Egg to Plate." Come one and all to hear about lobster biology and TLC's scientific and educational programs.
Yours in TLC and Friendship,
Sara Ellis, Executive Director and Diane Cowan, Senior Scientist