Island Science

American Eel
Island Science

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 […]

Island Science

Orcas: Too Big to Hold

• by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay, Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station • I just got back from the Nantucket Film Festival’s (NFF) showing of “Blackfish”, an excellent and provocative documentary describing in excruciating detail the many issues of keeping Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in captivity. The majority of […]

Barrier Beach
Island Science

Barrier Beaches: Nature’s Fortress

• by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay, Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station • Last week we talked about erosional processes around the island. This week I thought we would thank our lucky salt marshes and the harbor itself for the protection from Coatue and barrier beaches such as the […]

Cisco Beach Erosion
Island Science

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
Island Science

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
Island Science

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 […]

gray seals
Island Science

True Seals

Gray Seals and People, why can’t we just get along? • by Dr. Sarah D. Oktay, Managing Director UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station • Happy summer 2013! Currently the island is celebrating Memorial Day weekend with parades, BBQ’s, tributes to our war veterans, and cases and cases of Bud Light […]

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 […]