In 2017, the Schoodic Ferry is excited to welcome several visiting scientists aboard! International Protected Species Observer Clare Echlin will be joining us in June and July to conduct twice daily visual marine mammal and pelagic bird transects. Clare has worked in the North Sea, in Africa, and will be making her U.S. debut aboard the Schoodic Ferry. As a dedicated researcher, Clare will count all marine mammals and pelagic birds encountered during each transect, utilizing GPS to mark marine mammal locations. When possible, she will also take photos, notes on animal behavior, and note the animal’s approximate age and size. Marine mammal species likely to be encountered include harbor seals, grey seals, harbor porpoise, and minke whales. Bird species likely to be encountered include razorbills, black guillemots, eider ducks, northern gannets, double-crested cormorants, great cormorants, greater black-backed gulls, herring gulls, laughing gulls, ring-billed gulls, Bonaparte’s gulls, occasional shearwaters, occasional storm petrels, and migrating bald eagles and hawks.
In addition returning scientist Sarah Markwood will be aboard in August, conducting surface plankton net tows at 3 different locations within Frenchman Bay utilizing nets of varying mesh size. When combined with basic physical oceanographic survey data, this study will help local scientists assess if lobster, crab and urchin larvae molt timings are shifting as sea surface temperatures shift.
Finally, the Schoodic Ferry is currently fundraising to expand our scientific programs to include once weekly water quality data collection at 10 locations along its route, led by our own scientist/captain Kaitlyn Mullen. If appropriate funding can be raised, data collection will include water clarity, water pH, temperature and salinity over depth, and chlorophyll-a data. This data is useful for baseline monitoring of changing marine conditions, including variations in temperature, salinity, and phytoplankton productivity over time. If appropriate funding is obtained, this survey will be conducted June – September.
Interested in seeing our science in action? Call 207-801-9444 for weekly science schedules aboard the Schoodic Ferry!