Welcome to SeagrassSoundings Blog

Welcome to SeagrassSoundings Blog

SeagrassSoundings focuses on the work that scientists and managers are doing to protect, preserve, study, restore and monitor seagrass in Massachusetts and throughout New England.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Drifting mats of red algae

Yesterday MarineFisheries biologists were diving in Salem Sound near Pride's Beach in Beverly when we encountered large mats of the reddish brown algae that I think is Heterosiphonia japonica.  http://www.seaweed.ie/descriptions/Heterosiphonia_japonica.html.  This is the first we have seen it here to this extent.  In April at a site nearby we noted small amounts of it driftying through the grass bed, although it was piling up on the beach.  So yesterday we were surprised to see such an accumulation  (see pictures below).  The change from April to May may be due to the progression of the season and more algae growth, or it could simply have been a different current and wind direction blowing the algae into the bed that day, or a combination of the two.  Whatever the reason, this could definitely have a significant impact on the bed by blanketing shoots and shading them.  It will be interesting to see if the algae is there when we return to the site in the next few weeks.  We also have three transects that we monitor for SeagrassNet in this area and our next monitoring event is in July.  This highlights the reason why we need long term monitoring like SeagrassNet sites.  If there is an impact on the eelgrass bed we will hopefully be able to document it early.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Notes from our Mass Seagrass Group conference call May 2, 2012

Last week we had a conference call with participants of the Mass Seagrass Group.  The goal of the call was for each of us to share what we are planning to do this field season and to have a chance to ask questions and get feedback from the group.  In attendance were the following participants:
Holly Bayley (NPS) – updated the group on SeagrassNet in Pleasant Bay and her planned test transplanting of different donor populations in East Harbor this summer as part of the ongoing UNH genetics study funded by TNC and her master’s thesis work.

John Katchmar (TNC) – reported on TNC’s continued role supporting conservation moorings projects, shellfish restoration, and policy work on water quality.

Dr. Phil Colarusso (EPA) - discussed his invasive tunicate and seagrass study on the Vineyard; the changes at the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center and a possible seagrass or invasives exhibit in their mesocosm tank; work on the invasive monitoring for divers project; collecting pictures and video for the Boston Harbor Habitat Atlas.

Dr. Alyssa Novak (UNH) – mentioned that she is working on a site selection model for Plum Island Sound and will be doing test plots this summer.  The project is funded by MassBays.  She is looking for water quality, sediment and historic eelgrass information for the area.

Tay Evans, Wes Dukes, Jill Webber, Kate Ostrikis (DMF) – reviewed the progress to date for the HUB3 eelgrass restoration project and the DMF team’s plans for field work this summer including planting several small sites around Salem and Beverly.  We will be having two volunteer days to help with planting in June.  We also reported that we finished our SeagrassNet monitoring at the West Beach, Beverly site in record time this April.  It took us 1 day to do all three transects with only two divers thanks to exceptional visibility and easy to find markers.

Some people could not make the call but emailed updates to be read at the meeting:

Charlie Costello (DEP) – wrote that he plans to acquire imagery and map the North Shore, Boston and South Shore this summer.  The web map is up and running to display his results at:

Jay Baker (MassBays) – wrote about the conservation mooring evaluation project that he is working on with the Urban Harbors Institute and Cape Cod Harbormasters Association, jointly funded by TNC.  The project is to compile available literature and conduct interviews of stakeholders on the functional, economic, and environmental pros and cons of traditional and conservation mooring systems.  Lisa Engler will take over the eelgrass work for Jay at MassBays at the end of June, and Casey Shetterly is the project manager for TNC.

Our next Conference call will be in November 2012…stay tuned.  If you don’t think that you’re on my email list for the Mass Seagrass Group and you would like to be notified about our meetings and conference calls please contact me (Tay Evans) at 978-282-0308 x. 168 or tay.evans@state.ma.us.