P.O. Box 235, Friendship, ME 04547 (207) 832-8224 www.lobsters.org

June, 2006

Dear Volunteers and Friends of The Lobster Conservancy,

The Lobster Conservancy's (TLC's) mission is to sustain a thriving lobster fishery through science and community. This newsletter keeps our friends and volunteer research team informed of our activities. Here's what we've been up to over the past few months.

Research Publication

Diane Cowan, our Executive Director and Senior Scientist, had a paper titled "Thermal Histories of Brooding Lobsters, Homarus americanus, in the Gulf of Maine" published in the scientific journal Marine Biology in June. The article is based on a project TLC did attaching acoustic transmitters to ovigerous (egg-bearing) lobsters and tracking them from the time they extruded their eggs (pushed them out onto the underside of the abdomen) until the embryos hatched 9 to 13 months later! The small females (inexperienced mothers) were "stay-at-home Mom's" while large eggers traveled as far as 240km - from mid-coast Maine to Cape Cod. Although the small lobsters experienced much colder winter temperatures, the total number of degree days during embryonic development was similar. Reply to this message if you would like to have a PDF file of the paper.

Stay Tuned

Last August, Diane joined Jean-Michele Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society to lead a lobster research project on Stellwagen Bank. The program will be aired on PBS in Sept as part of the Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures series:

We encourage everyone to watch the series. For more information, please visit http://www.pbs.org/kqed/oceanadventures/episodes/treasures/

Staffing Update

We said a fond farewell to Linda Archambault in March, as Linda is hiking a substantial portion of the Appalachian Trail this spring and early summer with various family members. Linda will be teaching science at Lincoln Academy full-time this fall. We miss her greatly, and have looked forward to her email updates from the trail. Meanwhile, Dan O’Grady is returning to TLC to census and tag lobsters at Lowell’s Cove this summer – and will stay on in the fall if we hear good news from funders!

Diane continues as Executive Director and Senior Scientist while Jane Roundy has taken on a portion of TLC administrative duties. Sarah Lash joined TLC in mid March as a Research Assistant. Sarah earned her BA in Biology Gordon College and is heavily involved with TLC ’s Juvenile Lobster Habitat Mapping Project.


TLC received a challenge grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) for a Juvenile Lobster Habitat Mapping Project. The scope of the project is to identify and describe habitats critical to juvenile lobster. The project will create interactive GIS- based maps that will be useful to policy makers, resource managers, lobstermen, and others. JLMP volunteers will distribute the maps to local community stakeholders throughout the Gulf of Maine. We are grateful to the Darden Restaurant Foundation, the Boston Foundation Fund for the Environment and the Anderson Foundation for providing matching monies toward the NFWF grant. The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment is also sponsoring the project.

Juvenile Lobster Monitoring Program (JLMP)

The 2005 Juvenile Lobster Monitoring Program Report is available as a PDF file. The report summarizes the results of the 13-year monthly time series at one location and up to 9-years of data at 25 additional locations. Respond to this email if you would like to receive a copy.

The volunteer-based Juvenile Lobster Monitoring Program is now in its fourteenth season. We are off to another strong start, as we had a great turnout for our two preseason Kick Off Meetings. On April 8th in Friendship, Maine, Lynn Alley, Blane and Blake Beal, and Alexis Priestley of Great Wass Island, Cathy Sherrill and Joanne Sharpe of North Beach, Allen Island, Ruth & Wick Johnson of Deep Cove, Friendship Long Island, Ann & Mike Grimes, and Leigh Sherrill, of Pratt Island, Southport, Stacy Welner of Cundys Harbor, Harpswell, Corie Bibber Logan of Little Harbor, Harpswell, Beth Howe and Mac Passano of Bennett Cove, Chebeague Island, and Pam Cabanas all gathered to eagerly listen to Jane Roundy review the sampling protocol, online data entry, and challenging sampling schedule for the 2006 season. Diane Cowan presented the final results of the 2005 Sampling Season and recapped our primary research project for 2006, Juvenile Lobster Habitat Mapping in the Gulf of Maine funded by a challenge grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). Our research assistant, Sarah Lash presented a sample of the maps she is currently compiling.

On April 9th, Sue Lamdin and Ginny Hopcroft of Gun Point, Harpswell, Jocelyn Hubbell Meg Warren, and Karen Abbey of Potts Point, Harpswell, Mary Cerullo and Heather McLennan of Broad Cove, Cape Elizabeth, David Vaughan of Kettle Cove, Cape Elizabeth, Arilda Densch, Bob Mills, Dan Doolittle, Herb Cohen, Rick Lombardi, Richard Driver and John Blake of Goose Rocks Beach, Biddeford, Carolyn & John Payzant of Fort Stark, New Castle, Sara Ellis, Nikki Annelli and Hayden Pearson of Odiorne Pt, Rye, NH, Glenn and Sarah Roundy of Plum Cove, Gloucester, Jack Arnold, Rod Thibodeau, Denise and Alyssa Fiore of Gerry Island, Marblehead, and Rick Barrow of The Glades, Situate, MA all enjoyed the wonderful exhibits at the Seacoast Science Center after hearing the same info from Diane and Jane. A huge thank you to all who attended. It was great to catch up with our seasoned veteran samplers and meet our new volunteers. Thanks to the Seacoast Science Center and the Hahn Community Center for the use of their facilities.

This year, over 100 volunteers will monitor 23 juvenile lobster nursery sites from Dobbins Island in Downeast Maine to Green Harbor, MA. Our Downeast Maine team has moved their sampling site from Great Wass Island to Dobbins Island off Beals Island, and the Little Cranberry team has moved to the Coast Guard Beach. Both of these teams had previously sampled at nearby sites that recorded extremely low densities. We are hopeful that their new sites will be more productive nursery habitats based upon the early 2006 sampling results at their new sites.

Welcome aboard to new volunteers Nichole Rackliff at Coast Guard Beach, Joanne Sharpe at North Beach, Ruth & Wick Johnson at Deep Cove, Alex Brett, Sophie Glass, and Joseph Nowak at Kettle Cove, Rick Lombardi, Richard Driver, and John Blake at Goose Rocks Beach, Hayden Pearson at Odiorne Pt, and Alyssa Fiore at Gerry Island. We are thrilled to have Sara Ellis as a JLMP volunteer at Odiorne Pt. Sara is working with the Gulf of Maine Mapping Initiative (GOMMI). We thank Jesse Minor and Rebecca Larkin at Little Cranberry, The Whittiers at Pratt Island, Amy Cutler and Reid McMullan at Kettle Cove, Tom Bender at Goose Rocks Beach, and Dyanna Smith at Odiorne Pt for their years of participation in the JLMP.

We enjoyed extremely favorable low tides and relatively warm weather for our first field sampling this season. Many teams found more lobsters at their sites this April than any previous April. Gerry Island found the most lobsters-60 lobsters in 20 quadrats, ranging in size from 7 mm to 58 mm carapace length. The following sites recorded very high densities in April:

Maine: Beach St Cove in Winter Harbor, Cundys Hbr, Gun Pt, Little Hbr, and Potts Pt in Harpswell,

Bennett Cove on Chebeague Island, Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth, and Goose Rocks Beach in Biddeford

New Hampshire: Fort Stark in New Castle and Odiorne Pt in Rye

Massachusetts: Gerry Island in Marblehead and Plum Cove in Gloucester

In May, the tides were not as favorable, and many sites were not able to access a portion or any of their transects. Consequently, the May results were very mixed based upon the tidal drain at any particular site. Gun Pt. in Harpswell found the most lobsters in May-36 in 16 quadrats ranging in size from 7 mm to 52mm carapace length. Other sites with high density in May were:

Maine: North Beach on Allen Island, Pratt Island in Southport, Cundys Hbr, Gun Pt, Little Hbr and Potts Pt in Harpswell, Bennett Cove on Chebeague Island, Spar Cove on Peaks Island, and Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth

New Hampshire: Odiorne Pt in Rye

The June predicted tidal heights were very poor, and the atmospheric conditions did not help either. Most sites were not able to access any of their transect as their sites were underwater. Gun Pt in Harpswell managed to sample 14 quadrats and found 42 lobsters ranging in size from 9 mm to 46 mm carapace length. Cundys Harbor and Potts Pt in Harpswell, and Plum Cove in Gloucester, MA each found 25 lobsters.

A sincere thanks to all TLC volunteers for their dedication and hard work despite challenging sampling conditions.

Outreach, Presentations and Education

Diane Cowan’s article, Robbing the Lobster Cradle, appeared in The New York Sunday Times Op-Ed section on March 5. Recent Ask the Lobster Doc articles have included “ JLMP: Can it predict future landings?”, “Gynandromorph Lobsters”, “Can we predict an early molt?” Ask the Lobster Doc columns are available as PDF files and are archived at http://www.lobsters.org/ldoc/ldocindx.php . Diane has recently received national TV, radio, and newspaper coverage over the Whole Foods Market ban on the sale of live lobsters.

Diane presented a lecture on temperature and lobster abundance at the Benthic Ecology Meetings in Quebec City in February. Diane made presentations to the Mid Coast and Pen Bay Stewards Program again this spring, and spoke at the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, ME and at the South Thomaston, ME Historical society this spring on doing science with the lobstering community.

Diane has recently entertained students at the Harpswell and Friendship, Maine grade schools with her Lobster Life Cycle talk, and Diane and Sarah Lash took the Friendship Village School kids on a lobster field trip in early June. Linda Archambault assisted running the Lobster Larvae in the Classroom project at the Bristol Consolidated School again this spring. TLC received additional funding from the Francis R. Dewing Foundation to produce a Lobster Larvae in the Classroom teacher's handbook. The funding will be added to that received from Maine Community Foundation. The handbook will be available for distribution shortly.

Wishing you a wonderful summer!

Yours in TLC,

Diane Cowan, Jane Roundy, and Sarah Lash

TLC News