The Aquarium’s daily Marine Ecology Field Trips are not just fun trips where the public learns about fish and crabs. Aquarium staff also collect valuable scientific data on these trips with the help of participants. Each day, all species collected during two seine trips at a location (one of six locations in Nantucket Harbor or Madaket Harbor) are counted, measured and weighed. This project has been ongoing for 10 years now. Staff are currently entering all the old data into a new database and information will be made available here as work progresses. We have entered about 6,000 data points and have about 4,000 to go!
In 2013, we will start collecting new data to give us a more detailed understanding of harbor biodiversity. We will be measuring and weighing individual specimens of each species as well as focusing on key species that may be important indicator species for ecosystem health.
Here are some results so far…
We have a total count of 56,347 fish, crabs, snails, and shrimp in the database so far, representing 104 species.
We catch an average of 14 species per trip.
2008 saw the highest number of species in a year at 66. Most years are around 50.
We encounter these species the most often (in order):
Black-fingered mud crabs
Long-clawed hermit crabs
But we find these species in the highest numbers (in order):
Black-fingered mud crab
Sampling in Madaket Harbor shows a much higher total number of species over the last nine years than Nantucket Harbor.