Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Horned Poppy: Invasive Plant Found and Removed!

This is an invasive plant, Horned Poppy. Thanks to Kelly Omand of the Nantucket Conservation Foundation it was identified here at the field station and removed by the field station Jr Rangers.   

Description of Horned Poppy: Several branched stems grow from a rosette of leaves. The crinkly, gray-green leaves also appear on the stems and below each flower. The golden-yellow flowers are open and about 2 inches in diameter. Occasionally, there are orange or red flowers. The roots of the horned poppy are poisonous.

Seabeach Knotweed: A Plant of Special Concern

Seabeach Knotweed  (a plant of special concern) has been discovered here at the field station. In this photo, Jr. Ranger Isobel Mackinnon helps with placing markers for the GIS class from UMass. Boston so they (UMass. students) can take bearings and create an accurate map using global positioning satellite technology.  The biggest challenge for this plant is often "dune nourishment" efforts to save coastal barriers, loss of the plant (being covered over) is but one instance of what is called unintended consequences.

Threatened and Endangered Information:
Polygonum glaucum Nutt.
This plant is listed by the U.S. federal government or a state. Common names are from state and federal lists. Click on a place name to get a complete protected plant list for that location.
seabeach knotweed              Special Concern
seaside knotweed              Endangered
sea-beach knotweed              Special Concern
New Jersey:
sea-beach knotweed              Endangered
New York:
seabeach knotweed              Rare
Rhode Island:
seabeach knotweed              Threatened

Summer Flounder

Paralichthys dentatus (Linnaeus, 1766), also called a Fluke (fish pictured here), is a member of the left-eyed flounder family Paralichthyidae. There are typically 5 to 14 ocellated (eye-like) spots on the body. Like most members of the left-eye flounders they can change the color and pattern of their dark side to match the surrounding bottom, and are also capable of rapidly burrowing into muddy or sandy bottoms. The teeth are quite sharp and well developed on both upper and lower jaws. The average Summer flounder reaches sexual maturity at 2 years and weighs 1 to 3 pounds, typically 15 to 20 inches in length. Though they may grow as large as 26 pounds and live up to 20 years with females making up the largest and oldest specimens. Adults are highly predatory and considered mostly piscivorous, (fish eating) often laying buried with only their head exposed to ambush prey which includes sand lance, menhaden, atlantic silverside, mummichog killifish, small bluefish, porgies, squid, shrimp, and crabs. but not Jr Rangers;) While primarily considered a bottom fish they are rapid swimmers over short distances and can become very aggressive feeding actively at mid depths, even chasing prey to the surface. While walking from the beach into Folgers Marsh Mookie, Caroline, and I found summer flounder, all about this size in the creek leading into the marsh. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

An Experiment on Tuesday's Nature Walk

The Deer Flies were out and bothersome today.  We told our visitors that all scientific reports suggest that Deer Flies prefer the color blue for some reason.  So we put cups covered in a sticky substance 1 red, 1 blue, on top of two of our friends and took a walk.  Boy the stories they'll have when they get home!  As usual, blue was the clear winner and no humans were hurt in the course of this experiment. On a related note, Jane (red hat) proved to be a world class mosquito magnet.

Ox-Eye Daisy: Chrysanthemum Leucanthemum A report by Gigi Glover

The Ox-Eye Daisy is a perennial flower which means it has a life cycle that lasts more than two years/ two years or more. The name “Ox-Eye” was a flattering name lovingly given to Hera, the Olympian Queen of the gods in Greek mythology.  The name was later given to this pretty daisy. The first Christians dedicated this flower to Mary Magdalen, the Christian who found Jesus’ tomb empty, which is where the name “Maudlin Daisy” came from and the name “Dun Daisy” arose from the flower being connected with the god of thunder. Celtic stories said that daisies were the ghosts of children who had died while they were being born.  Other names for Ox-Eye Daisies are Daisy, Ox-Eye, White Ox-Eye, Dog Daisy, Goldens, Marguerite, Moon Daisy, Maudlin Daisy, Field Daisy, Dun Daisy, Butter Daisy, and Horse Daisy. Ox-Eye Daisy is edible and medicinal. Young spring shoots are edible, and chopped very finely and lightly sprinkled on a salad is said to be very strong and bitter. The whole plant, especially the flowers, when used as a medicinal herb are used when controlling spasms, coughing, inducing sweat, it is also used in tonic water, and in tea, soothing nerves, and used when healing. It has most of the same properties as Chamomile. This information is from

Saturday, August 6, 2011

One of the inhabitants of the fresh water pond here at the field station is the snapping turtle that Caroline Richards wrote about earlier this summer.  

Bio inventory continues

This year the Jr. Rangers have begun a bio inventory of the life of the freshwater pond here at the field station.  Here's a picture of the Pumpkin Seed (a type of sun fish, in the same family as the large mouth bass) just discovered this morning by Thomas Glover.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wednesday Family Nature Walk 8/3/2011

Moth Mullien

Moth Mullien

Here's a link from Ohio State University that will provide you some information about this beautiful but invasive plant.  I find it of interest because it only flowers every other year.

Photo by - Lila Head

A Special Thank You

This past Wednesday yours truly (Len Germinara) was called to jury duty.  As we provide a guided Family Nature Walk every Wednesday from 1-3 the challenge would be to have someone here to meet, greet, and walk with our visitors.  I sent a request to all of our Jr. Rangers for help and the crew stepped up BIG TIME!  Thank you Mia, Caillean, Caroline, Lila, and David for being there when we needed your help, you Rock!  As it turns out the jury pool was released early and I was able get back for the walk and it was a great walk! You are fun and intelligent people and it's an honor to work with you all.

Women in Science Lecture Series: Anamarija Frankic

Friday, August 5 · 7:00pm - 10:00pm


Created By

From Biomimicry to Fishery Policy, How Science works in the Real World

Friday night at 7:00 pm.
Free, open to the public. Free refreshments
call 508-228-5268 for more information

Anamarija Frankic (Assistant Professor, EEOS) has been working for more than 25 years in the field of integrated ecosystem management and stewardship. Her interest is in innovative educational, research, and outreach methodologies to help solve environmental issues in situ, right here and now.​08/03/meet-anamarija-frank​ic/

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Art made on the beach

This past week AckVenture camp, from the Nantucket Community School ( created art from found objects on the beach.

UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station Women in Science Lecture Series

UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station Women in Science Lecture Series Begins July 30

University of Massachusetts Amherst graduate student Amy Koske kicks off a summer lecture series at the Field Station with the lecture "Heavy Metal Food Chain: Diet and Mercury Content of Large Pelagic Predators in the Northwest Atlantic" Her talk will be held in the Field Station classroom on Saturday, July 30 at 11 a.m. Free admission.

UMass Boston Nantucket Field Director Sarah Oktay created the series, called "Women in Science," and asked each speaker to address what they do as well as what it's like to be a woman in their field of study.

Koske studies the diets and the mercury content of large pelagic fish in the Atlantic Ocean. Her research involves analyzing the stomach contents of sharks as well as examining tissue samples. Koske says there is not much information on the current feeding habits of large pelagic fish and her research will help determine how methyl mercury moves through the food system and enters into species of shark and tuna.

Nantucket Field Station
180 Polpis Road

Honeysuckle (Lonicera)

Part of the work of a Jr. Ranger is to write about the plants and animals of the field station.  As all our students know, one way to choose a subject to write about begins with a question, in this case, what is the plant with red berries?


Honeysuckle is an invasive plant, not native to Nantucket. Because it is invasive it blocks out the sun from other native plants. It has white flowers and red berries. The berries are also called twin berries. The flower produces sweet edible nectar, so I like it (because it is sweet.)The berries are poisonous, so you don’t want to eat them. I’ve only seen red ones at the field station, because the kind of honeysuckle at the field station is honeysuckle bush. The flowers can also be different, but I’ve only seen the white ones at the field station. A cool fact is that hummingbirds are attracted to honeysuckle.

Thomas Glover

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Female Fiddler Crab - Photo by Lila H.

I'm providing a link to a very good article written about crabs by Dr. Oktay. 

Pipe Fish

While doing research in the saltmarsh here at the field station our Jr. Rangers found this Pipefish. Here's a link from Wikipedia you might be interested in.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Plant Gall Information

Here's a link that will help you explore the world of plant galls.

Lawrence 2011

Pictured here are students from Lawrence High School. They visited the Field Station from June 6-June 9 2011. They came as guests of the the Field Station and the Grace Grossman Inner City Youth Collaborative, a state program to provide a science based experience for inner city high school students from Massachusetts. Now in its 6th year the program has hosted hundreds of fine teachers and students from all across the state. In the coming days this site will feature photos and poetry from these Lawrence Lancers, personal reflections on their time here at the Field Station.

Excel High School, South Boston

Amanda and Theresa of So.Boston's Excel High School have been bringing students to Nantucket as part of The Grace Grossman Inner City Collaborative for several years now. A great school with two very dedicated teachers who've earned a long rest.

Nantucket Blueberries, by Caroline M. Richards

Photo of Blueberries By Caroline Richards
Blueberries are one of my favorite foods. I don’t get the name though. I mean, aren’t they dark purple?

Oh well, I’ll figure that one out another day. Although Blueberries can be bland, people love them for their small size. People can just pop them into their mouth without a thought! The Blueberry flower means (to some) wisdom and is the food of the Greek goddess Athena, who is known as the goddess of wisdom and battle strategy, though I don’t think blueberries plan battles.

The fruit is a berry 5-16 millimeters (0.20-0.63 in) in diameter with a flared crown at the end; they are greenish at first, then reddish-purple, and finally indigo when ripe. They have a sweet taste when mature, with variable acidity. Blueberry bushes typically bear fruit in the middle of the growing season: fruiting times are affected by local conditions such as altitude and latitude, so the height of the crop can vary from May to August depending upon these conditions.

Work cited -

Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, blueberry.

Fiddler Crabs - By Mookie R.

Fiddler Crab
Fiddler crabs, also known as a calling crab, are native to Nantucket. You can find them at the field station marsh, they eat organic matter that they find on rocks or in the mud. They live in holes in the mud that are about 1 foot long and about 4 centimeters wide.

The male Fiddler crabs have what looks like a lighthouse on their stomach (underside of the carapace) and the females have what look like a pyramid. The males also have on large claw that is used for attracting a mate and defending their territory.

Happy Birthday Mookie!

Jacob W - Jr Ranger

Jacob W. wanted to know if perch and pickerel lived in the pond at the field station. The answer was no, followed with a question of our own. Why do you ask?

He told me he felt the FS pond should be able to support both species and wanted to test his theory. For several weeks Jacob has been gathering specimens, some people call it fishing, and in the past few days has released a healthy brace of perch into the pond. The pond has a thriving golden shiner population but is very shallow. We are already looking forward to testing Jacob's theory. The proof will come next spring of course. I'm looking forward to the field work this will require, some people call it fishing.

Jr Ranger Essay - by Lila Head

As a precondition of being accepted as a Jr. Ranger here at the field station each perspective Jr. Ranger is asked to write a brief essay on why they want to be a Jr. Ranger. Here is a great example from Lila Head our newest Jr. Ranger.

Why I Want To Be A Jr. Ranger

I would like to like to be a Jr. Ranger at the UMASS Field Station. I think I would have a great time. I like being out there and active with science.

Another reason is: the setting. Looking out on a calm beach, the mucky salt marsh with the green grass, and bushes and trees of all sorts, makes my head buzz. It's all so pretty.

The last reason is, I love marine biology. The idea of fish and crabs and other creatures living without air fascinates me. That is why I want to join the Jr. Ranger program.

-- Lila Head

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Turtle and the Lawn Mower, by Caroline Richards

The turtle moved sluggishly across the field and didn’t seem to notice or care that a lawn mower was coming around the corner, right towards it. It just kept its slow, serene pace. He had small eyes, a shell that was almost, but not quite, too large for its small body. He had a pointed tail that dragged along behind him and two small nose holes right in the middle of its small sour face. His lined mouth was curved slightly downward in a small frown, not that he was unhappy, but then again, how can you tell? He just kept moving forward as if it was hard to lift its tiny little legs forward and backward. When he got to the middle of the field he stopped and stared in complete calmness as the giant lawn mower progressed. The small turtle raised an eyebrow at the man on the lawn mower, he had shorts on and hiking boots on his feet, which the turtle thought was odd because in his past experiences he had used boots as a hiding place. The man also wore an odd little device on his eyes, they where black and pointy. The little turtle tilted its head as if to say ‘wow, humans are weird.’ The weirdest part about the man on the lawn mower was he seemed to have a circular object with a hole in it sitting on his thigh and every now and then he would pick it up and bite it! I know, completely ridiculous but that’s what the little snapping turtle saw. He squinted his eyes to get a better look but he just saw the same ridiculous thing! Then to the turtles horror the man put the whole thing in his mouth and climbed out of the lawn mower. He started to walk towards the little turtle and much to the turtle’s dismay reached down and picked him up in his hands! The turtle was furious! He thrashed and flailed and clawed and even tried to bite his hand. But the man held on tight and didn’t seem to let go until they went into this odd looking building where a kind woman, who didn’t squeeze as hard picked up the turtle and gently put it in a large dome. It had water and lily pads and…FISH!!!! The turtle swan around with glee, bubbling and eating and then he had a headache. So he sat down and enjoyed the warm sun while chewing on a fish bone in his new home with the donut eating man and the gentle lady. Though he was still upset with the donut man for not letting him have a bite.

Painted Turtle, photo by Caroline

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Recap of June

The first month of Family Nature Walks and our Junior Ranger training was a great success.  We've set up three aquariums for fresh and salt water creatures from the pond and marsh.  Our fresh water tanks at present have a Red Eared Slider and a Snapping Turtle as well as Golden Shiners.  In the salt water tank we have a Spider crab, Green crab, and a Hermit crab, as well as Glass shrimp and Silver Lances (a type of fish) for you to come and visit.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What you will find here this summer

This blog will serve as a daily update of the goings on and events at the UMass Field Station.  There will be photography and written accounts posted by our staff of Jr. Rangers as well as notices of upcoming events here.