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nature science

What Lies Beneath

• by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay, Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station • Mapping the Ocean Floor The UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station has the use of a new toy, and boy what a toy it is! In late August, Dr. Mark Borelli of the Provincetown Center for Coastal …

The Magical Island of Tuckernuck

• by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay, Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station • For the past two summers I have been fortunate to visit the Tuckernuck Land Trust’s (or TLT, website can be accessed at http://www.tuckernucklandtrust.org/) field station and do some basic biological collection (bees and mosquitoes) and give …

Flying Dragons

• by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay, Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station • What is strong, a skilled hunter, ephemeral, eats mosquitoes and feeds a wide variety of birds, fish, and frogs? Give up? It is the beautiful dragonfly, currently gracing Nantucket ponds and wetlands this summer. Some of …

Boring Sponge

Sponges, Climate Change, & Bay Scallops

• by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay, Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station • We pulled up a common resident of our harbors the other day while doing a dredge for our Marine Ecology class off Pocomo Point. Scattered amongst the spider crabs and scallops and loose eelgrass and algae …

Eastern Cottontail

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit

• by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay, Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station • This week’s title comes from the British tradition adopted in New England to say “rabbit” or “rabbits” several times in succession or “white rabbit” upon first waking on the first day of the month in order …

American Eel

As American as … the American Eel

As we finish celebrating our country’s birth as a nation, everyone is in a patriotic mood and what could be more patriotic than, the American Eel. Okay, I am sure you can think of something more patriotic, but this is a nature column. We have an adorable baby eel swimming …

Cisco Beach Erosion

Coastal Beach Processes & Erosion

• by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay, Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station • There is perhaps no other topic concerning Nantucket that is more of a hot button issue than erosion. All around the island we are experiencing between 0.74 to 12.0+ feet of erosion on our beaches and …

Portuguese Man o' War

Bluebottle Washashore-Portuguese Man o’ War

• by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay, Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station • As a washashore myself, I hope I am a little more welcome than this week’s creature. Two weeks ago, two Clean Team volunteers helping out on a Madaket Beach clean-up (www.ackcleanteam.org) came upon a relatively common …

tent catepillar

Dang It, I am not a Gypsy Moth!

Today’s subject could easily be the star of a B horror movie from the 50’s. Several people have asked me about them lately so let’s jump in and discover which creature uses polarizing light special effects, employs biochemical weapons and advanced scent trails, lies quietly over winter, then pops out …

Seals

Gray Seal Population: Plague or Pleasure?

• by Sarah Teach • For many Americans, seals are little more than a childhood memory of a visit to the zoo. But for residents of Nantucket Island, the blubbery marine mammals are quickly becoming a topic of discussion saved only for trusted company. At the core of a growing …