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.