Island Science

Pine Pollen
Island Science

Gesundheit!

This Spring’s Pollen Festival • by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay – Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station • An allergy is a heightened sensitivity to a foreign substance called an allergen that causes the body’s defense system (the immune system) to overreact when defending itself. This defense system was […]

Lichen
Island Science

Likin’ Lichens

• by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay – Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station • What can live in space and almost anywhere on the planet, is abundant on Nantucket, and was studied religiously by children’s author, Beatrix Potter? If you answered lichens, you are correct! I love lichens, they […]

Spring Peeper
Island Science

Overwintering: How do they do it?

• by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station • Each year in early spring, we start to see the islands’ plants and animals emerge. This past winter has been difficult, with three major storms (Sandy, Nemo, and Saturn) causing significant erosion and destruction around the […]

Island Science

Island’s Little Critters

by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station My friend has had a vole problem this year in her garden. For some reason, every time she tells me the stories of voles enjoying her organic creations I envision a Looney Tunes cartoon of carrots and cabbages […]

Island Science

Harvesting Wild Island Food

by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station One of the most charming and frankly useful things about the island is the variety of edible plants, fungi, and animals that exist naturally in almost every corner of the landscape. Over the past several years in this […]

Island Science

Among the Whales

by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station I have friends visiting me from the Pacific Northwest and Texas this weekend and I have enjoyed taking them around the island to the many places that makes Nantucket so special. One of my favorites is the Nantucket […]

Catails
Island Science

Catails: Marsh Corn Dogs

by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station I have always loved cattails, and we have quite a few of them here at the Field Station.  When a student showed me an especially beautiful picture of one I decided there’s no better time than the present […]

Island Science

Biomimicry

by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station In the past year, the UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station has offered two public lectures and a summer course in Biomimicry, and we plan to include it in our regular year round and summer offerings. Biomimicry is both […]

Chimeras
Island Science

Small Monsters in the Water – Chimeras

by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station A chimera (from the Greek word for she-goat) is a fire breathing female creature from Greek mythology made of three different animals; a lion, a serpent and a goat. The chimera was the “daughter” of Typhon and Echidna […]

Island Science

Dangerous Beauties – Jellyfish

by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station As the summer temperatures warm up our harbor and offshore waters, floating translucent creatures begin to crowd our shores and become a concern for swimmers.  Unfortunately, as ocean waters warm world-wide and we continue to over-fish or endanger […]