P.O. Box 235, Friendship, ME 04547 (207) 832-8224 www.lobsters.org
Dear Volunteers and Friends of The Lobster Conservancy,
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with The Lobster Conservancy, we are primarily a scientific research organization dedicated to sustaining a thriving lobster fishery through science and community. This newsletter keeps our friends and volunteer research team informed of our activities. Heres what weve been up to over the past month.
News from the Board of Directors
We bid farewell to our Administrative Assistant Bob Grant. Bob moved on from TLC to take a management position at Lee Nielsen Fine Woodworking Tools. Lucille Blackler joined us in October as our new Administrative Assistant. Lucille has 26 years of administrative experience at FMC BioPoylmer in Rockland, Maine. She comes from an active lobstering family in Friendship and has a true commitment to the lobster industry. Welcome aboard, Lucille!
In October we held a meeting of the Board of Directors. This was the first time that board members Andrew Solow of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Kari Lavalli had a chance to visit the Lobster Life Studies Center on Friendship Long Island. Thank you to Lucille for attending the meeting and taking minutes.
We are pleased to announce three grants to support TLC's research on juvenile lobsters. Grants from the Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation and the H. King and Jean Cummings Charitable Trust Fund of the Maine Community Foundation will provide partial support for a volunteer training video that we plan to introduce to new and old volunteers before next year's sampling season. A grant from the Davis Conservation Foundation is providing matching funds for a long-term comparative study of three lobster nursery sites that we will begin in 2002 with support from Up East Inc.
On a sadder note, Brunswick High School teacher, long-time TLC volunteer and friend Jack Despres passed away recently. Jack monitored Dyer Cove on Great Island with his son Aaron and participated in our first lobster nursery site survey in Harpswell. Our best wishes of comfort to Jack's family. He will be missed.
Juvenile Lobster Project
The volunteer-based Juvenile Lobster Monitoring Program wrapped up its sixth season in October 2001. This year, more than 75 volunteers monitored 24 juvenile lobster nursery sites from Isle au Haut, Maine to Manomet Point, Massachusetts. A hearty thanks to all TLC volunteers for their dedication and hard work.
This year, volunteers collected data on more than 1,200 lobsters ranging in size from 4 to 97 mm in carapace length (CL). Recently-settled lobsters were detected at 13 sites. Many thanks to Jane Roundy and Joyce Armendaris for entering these data. We will conduct in-depth analyses during the winter months after data have been proofread.
TLC scientists visited every volunteer monitoring site during the course of this sampling season to give us a chance to observe on-going sampling techniques and offer refresher points wherever needed to insure consistent sampling among all sites. Sara personally thanks volunteers who opened their doors this summer to provide overnight hospitality and/or culinary delights during her site visitations.
We are producing a volunteer training video to make it easier to show volunteers the wide range of lobster sizes, stages, and characteristics that they are likely to encounter in the field. This will ensure that volunteers are fully able to recognize these characteristics, and know how best to handle each lobster they encounter. The video will supplement, not replace, our current handbook and training sessions. It will be lasting, consistent, and compelling, and will be distributed to volunteers for viewing at any time. Alex and Martha Loer of Pier 8 Productions in Massachusetts will be producing the video. In September, Alex came to Lowell's Cove and Friendship Long Island to shoot the initial footage. At Lowell's Cove, Alex filmed Diane and Sara conducting a mock training session of "new volunteers" Polly Wilson and Amy Watson. On subsequent low tides Alex filmed Diane sampling lobsters of different sizes and molt stages.
Alex Loer of Pier 8 Productions records a mock volunteer training session for TLCs upcoming training video. (Photo by Sara Ellis)
Long-term Tagging of Juvenile Lobsters
In 2001, many Young-of-the Year lobsters were found at Lowell's Cove and Friendship Long Island. (Photo by Sara Ellis)
2001 was a banner year for settlement at both Lowell's Cove and Friendship Long Island where the numbers of lobsters born this year and settling to the bottom peaked in August. Numbers of small lobsters remained particularly high through late summer and early fall in Friendship. Older juveniles were less common at Lowell's Cove than they have been in the past and were all but missing from the Friendship transects.
A huge thank you to all of those who helped to sample and record data at Lowell's Cove especially Polly Wilson, Anne Barrett, Robert Barrett, Ellen McCarty, Althea Alexander and Zack Lindsey. Thanks also to Linda Archambault who spent hours proofreading the 2001 data with Diane so that it would be ready to analyze.
Lobster Life Studies Center
A special thank you to all who donated lobsters to the pound this fall. Especially Zack Lindsey for the large but legal pre-molt female weighing three pounds and Carl Simmons for a double-clawed lobster a new addition to our exotic lobster collection. And thank you to those who helped to care for the lobsters especially Linda Archambault who volunteers at the Lobster Life Studies Center one day per week.
Michael Tlusty of the New England Aquarium visited TLC in September to get sediment samples for a study investigating the environmental impacts of lobster pounds. This study is going to look at how organic matter in the sediment, large bottom-dwelling organisms, and nematodes change over the pounding season. TLC's lobster pounds are being used as an example of a "recovering" pound (one no longer being used commercially), and will be compared to commercial pounds in the Rockland/Boothbay region. In addition to this information, Michael will also examine the digestive efficiency of lobsters at low (winter) temperatures, and he will keep track of the amount of food the pound owners deliver to each pound. His goal is to create a "nutrient fate map" for the pounds that determines what happens to food once it is added to the pounds.
Outreach and Education
As part of our service-learning program, 12 high school juniors from Chewonki Foundation's Maine Coast Semester visited the Lobster Life Studies Center in October. Teacher Paul Arthur and the students helped stack wood, paint ladders, and clean the wharf with seawater in exchange for educational talks by Diane and Sara about lobster biology and research.
Two groups of students from Professor Ed Laine's Marine Environmental Geology class at Bowdoin College have finished up their service-learning projects for TLC. Both groups mined TLC data as well as geological and mapping data to try to tease out which factors influence abundance and distribution of juvenile lobsters. Jamie Holte, Ricardo Simmonds, and Elizabeth Norton focused on sites spread along the coast of Maine, while Ryan Davis, Chrissy Assad, and Alex Harris focused on sites within Casco Bay and Penobscot Bay. To help the students understand the significance of their work, Diane took them on a field trip to Lowells Cove in October, where they found plenty of lobsters ranging in size from 8 - 72 mm CL. An article on the field trip that appeared in the Bowdoin Sun will soon be posted at the press page of our website (www.lobsters.org/press/press.php). Sara helped the students with data analysis by visiting them during two laboratory sessions. Both groups presented their findings at a service-learning poster session at Bowdoin on December 7.
In November, Diane delivered her new Power Point presentation entitled "Lobster Literacy in Gulf of Maine Area Schools" at the annual Board Meeting for the Gulf of Maine Marine Educators Association. The Lobster Conservancy has a yearning to introduce Lobster Literacy into Gulf of Maine area schools. We feel that school children growing up throughout the Gulf of Maine region would benefit from becoming literate in the world of lobsters. We also think that there are many lessons that may be more palatable for pupils to learn if they are set in the context of lobsters because in one way or another, most area children are already somewhat familiar with the beasts. The November presentation served to introduce this idea and get feedback from Marine Educators.
In October, Trevor Corson, a freelance writer on assignment for the Atlantic Monthly, interviewed Diane and observed our lobster sampling techniques at her Lowell's Cove field site. Trevor was putting together a wide-ranging story about developments in the Maine lobster industry, with portraits of the variety of people and types of work connected to the industry.
The German TV show "Abenteuer Leben" ("Adventures of Life") ran a segment on Diane and her research entitled "The American Lobster Queen" on November 24. The tape just arrived in the mail and the enclosed letter reported that a second show by German TV NDR called "Mare TV" just aired. We've heard great reports from friends in Germany. The film by Nadja Truebenbacher can be viewed on the internet at www.kabel1.de/tv/leben/ (Video Archiv).
With the holiday season upon us, you may be searching for unique gifts that support a good cause. Look no further! The Lobster Conservancy can offer some fresh ideas.
Our newest gift suggestion is an excellent video on lobsters by filmmakers Nick Caloyianis and Clarita Berger, entitled "Realm of the Lobster." This award-winning video combines extraordinary one-of-a-kind footage and spectacular vistas to reveal the rich variety of marine life that lives in the realm of the lobster. This video will knock your socks off and has been bestowed with several prestigious awards including the Gold Special Jury from the Worldfest at Houston, Texas, the Gold Cine Eagle from the CINE Festival, Washington, D.C., and The Earthwatch 2001 Environmental Award, which was presented at The National Geographic Society in December. Videos can be purchased online at www.movieodysseys.com and a portion of the sale price will be donated to TLC.
Realm of the Lobster is a spectacular video about our favorite subject - lobsters. (Photo by Nick Caloyianis)
The Lobster Conservancy has TLC hats and T-shirts for sale. The T-Shirts have a red cartoon of a lobster family and the words "The Lobster Conservancy; We're Counting on You." The shirts are X-Large white Hanes Beefy-Ts and cost $13 (including shipping). TLC also sells low-profile caps that sport a red lobster and the words "The Lobster Conservancy, Friendship, Maine." Hats are khaki with either blue or green brims and are priced at $18 (including shipping). You can take a look at these gifts and print out mail-in order forms at www.lobsters.org/tlcstuff.html. However to try to receive these items before Christmas, we recommend that you phone in your order by December 18 (we can take credit card orders by phone).
Finally, a huge thank you to the individuals and local businesses who were able to respond to our 2001 Annual Appeal. As our programs grow so does our need for new sources of support, and donations of any amount are very helpful. If you did not receive our Annual Appeal letter, it means we don't have your correct address in our files. Please let us know if you would like to receive future mailings by sending us your current address.
Thanks once again to all the volunteers who worked in our research programs this year. We wish you and your loved ones safe and happy holidays and all the best for the New Year.
Yours in TLC and Friendship,
Sara Ellis, Executive Director and Diane Cowan, Senior Scientist