Cape Cod Graduate TripPosted October 11th, 2011 by Roxann Cormier
A dozen ECo graduate students and myself (Kevin McGarigal) enjoyed a fabulous weekend on the Cape. The weather was unseasonably warm and calm, making our time on the water and beach extremely pleasurable.
Sarah Martinez, Katherine Tarkanian and Matt Bolus, all ECo graduate students, led the trip and were stellar hosts.
Matt took us out to Wellfleet harbor on two boats and provided an exceptionally informative overview of his research project while we downloaded acoustic telemetry data from a distributed network of receivers. He is studying the spatial ecology of Diamond-backed terrapins in the harbor in relation to proposed dredging operations and hopes to provide critical information on where and when the terrapins use the harbor in or near the proposed dredging sites. We even managed to glimpse a few turtle heads in the water.
Sarah and Katherine took us out to salt marsh and beach at the sanctuary and provided a wonderful natural history of beach and salt marsh ecosystems and divulged lots of information on the life history, ecology and conservation of horseshoe crabs, and we managed to catch and inspect a couple of baby horseshoe crabs. They are studying the spatial ecology and population genetics of horseshoe crabs on the Cape. While at the sanctuary, we also got a tour of the relatively new visitor center, which is a Platinum LEEDS green building — fascinating and high-end green technologies on display. On Sunday we visited Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Chatham and the site of Sarah’s intensive acoustic telemetry work, where she is trying to determine the magnitude and nature of horseshoe crab movements between several distinct areas that vary with respect to commercial harvesting of the crabs (for their blood and to serve as bait). The weather was incredible for the hike and the water delightful. It was difficult to leave!
In between these activities, Bob Cook, biologist with the Cape Cod National Seashore, led us on a “death march” (as it was later dubbed) deep into the dunes of the Provincelands at the outer Cape, where he shared loads of interesting information on the ecology and conservation of the terrestrial ecosystems of the Cape. It was a great hike into the core of the Provincelands where few others go, which provided lots of opportunity to see wildlife and some of the special ecosystems of the Cape, such as the duneslack wetlands.
Other than that, there was much fun and laughter (especially over “the game” on Saturday night) and lots of good home cooked food and excellent company.
Until the next time.