P.O. Box 235, Friendship, ME 04547 (207) 832-8224 www.lobsters.org
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, is an author on a recently published article: Hodgins-Davis, A., S. Roberts, D.F. Cowan, J. Atema, C. Avolio, J. Defaveri, and G. Gerlach. 2006. Characterization of SSRs from the American lobster, Homarus americanus. Molecular Ecology Notes. PDF files are available upon request.
Diane continues as Executive Director and Senior Scientist. Diane lost a very close race (51% to 49%) for the Maine House of Representative seat from Friendship, Cushing, Union and Warren to the incumbent. Diane ran an excellent campaign, and we were all very proud/relieved over her very narrow loss. We unfortunately were not successful in securing grants to keep Dan O’Grady on staff, but we are very grateful that Dan will continue to census and tag lobsters at Lowell’s Cove for the foreseeable future.
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 hope to have the maps completed and available for distribution by February 2007. 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.
Fig 2. Volunteers Beth Howe and Mac Passano at Chebeague Island, Maine
The volunteer-based Juvenile Lobster Monitoring Program wrapped up its 10th season in November 2006. This year, 109 volunteers monitored 23 juvenile lobster nursery sites from Dobbins Island in Downeast Maine to Green Harbor, MA. Two additional sites were monitored by TLC scientists who also tag and recapture juvenile lobsters. The JLMP pre-dates TLC. While TLC volunteers finished their 10th sampling season – one location – Lowells Cove in Harpswell completed its 14th year of monthly sampling. One additional site – Friendship Long Island – is also sampled year round.
A hearty thanks to all TLC volunteers for their dedication and hard work.
Based upon the preliminary results of the volunteer sampling, 2006 was another record- breaking year for abundance of juvenile lobsters at many of our intertidal nursery sites. Lobsters in their first year of life were detected at all sites this summer and/or fall – that’s an exciting first!
Fig 3. Volunteers Rod Thibodeau, Alyssa Fiore, Denise Fiore, Jack Arnold, Mitch
Wondolowski, and Nick Wondolowski at Gerry Island, Marblehead, MA
In 2006, the following sites recorded their highest average density of
lobsters/ m2 for an
individual month since the inception of sampling at their site:
Maine: Dobbins Island off Beal Island, Coast Guard Beach on Little Cranberry, Beach Street Cove in Winter Harbor, North Beach on Allen Island, Pratt Island in Southport, Gun Point in Harpswell, Bennett Cove on Chebeague Island, Broad Cove in Cape Elizabeth, and Goose Rocks in Biddeford
Massachusetts: Plum Cove in Gloucester and Gerry Island in Marblehead
Other sites recording strong densities this season include Waterman Point in South Thomaston, Potts Point in Harpswell, Spar Cove on Peaks Island and Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth, ME, Odiorne Point in Rye and Fort Stark in Newcastle, NH, and The Glades in Scituate, and Blue Fish Cove in Green Harbor, MA. Juvenile densities decreased at Little Harbor and Lowell’s Cove in Harpswell, ME and at Deep Cove on Friendship Long Island. The Pratt Island team in Southport, ME found the greatest number of lobsters during one sampling tide—85 lobsters in 20 quadrats. Gerry Island in Marblehead and Gun Point in Harpswell were also in the hunt for finding the most number of lobsters in one tide. Densities were surprisingly high at many sites in November. The Gerry Island team could not resist braving the elements in December, based upon their high November census.
The move to new locations for the Downeast Maine team and the Little Cranberry team was fortuitous as both teams now sample more productive nursery habitats. A special TLC thanks goes to Lynn Alley and her high school science students for scouting the Dobbins Island site. We continue to be amazed by the dedication of our JLMP volunteers.
Welcome aboard to new volunteers Erin Fernald Gray and Hallie Marbet at Coast Guard Beach, Barbara Lally at Pratt Island, Carole Lord at Potts Point, Hannah Finegold and Ian Tubby at Kettle Cove, and Nick Wondolowski, David Fanning and Kevin Shea at Gerry Island.
Our annual Volunteer Appreciation Day was held on Friendship Long Island in late August. The weather was spectacular this year: substantially warmer and less windy than forecast. Hard to believe as we write this in mid December that our volunteers were grumbling that it was too warm for how they were dressed—but it’s true! It was great to spend time with our JLMP volunteers.
Fig 4. Enjoying Lobster Feast on Volunteer Appreciation Day
We will conduct in-depth analyses during the winter months after all data have been received and proofed. We look forward to seeing our volunteers next spring at our Annual Kick Off Meetings and providing them the detailed results of the 2006 season at that time.
Outreach, Presentations and Education
We were very fortunate to have the assistance of Jack Boak, a TLC friend and volunteer, to compile our 2006 Annual Appeal mailing list. We could not have accomplished the mailing without his assistance. We also extend a special thanks to Al Stewart and Karl Jankowski for their web site and technical support assistance, and to all the other TLC friends who have volunteered their services or supported our organization.
Fig 5. Winter Scene at Lobster Life Studies Center
Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season!
Yours in TLC,
Diane Cowan, Jane Roundy, and Sarah Lash