Our third and final ISLE program focused on the marine environment surrounding Hurricane Island. Students spent the first part of the week helping our field research coordinator Cait Cleaver with her summer research project focused on scallops. Students counted larval scallops that Cait collected at several sampling sites in Penobscot Bay. This project helped students understand what it means to do hands on field research with delicate specimens, and to be meticulous and accurate in collecting and measuring their subjects.
This week also caught the best tides and students spent several low tide cycles out exploring the intertidal zone. Students helped summer intern Collin Li pilot an annual intertidal monitoring survey and got hands on experience using transects, quadrates, and field guides to properly key out invertebrates for accurate data collection.
One of the highlights of the program was a fun day fishing off of Hurricane and Greens Island for mackerel and pollack. For some it was their first fishing experience but we came back with a huge catch. Students spent the rest of the day learning how to fillet and dissect their fish, and some even enjoyed smocked mackerel on their pizza for dinner.
The Rozalia Project For A Clean Ocean, one of our partner organizations, visited Hurricane during this program and showed students their remotely operated vehicle, Hector the Collector, which they use to extricate marine debris from the ocean floor in a non-invasive way. The Rozalia project also took students out on a beach cleanup and challenged them to create public service announcements about the problem of marine debris.
Students also spent a day exploring Vinalhaven after learning about Maine’s lobster fishery and hauling traps with local fisherman, Jason Day. On Vinalhaven students got to see the working waterfront and witness the “fish cannon” at Vinalhaven’s own lobster co-op. The rest of the day was spent swimming in the quarry and enjoying ice cream on a hot summers day. We had a fantastic time with this energetic group and enjoyed their enthusiasm for the marine environment.
Register for our 2015 Marine Ecology ISLE program here!