Remembering Robin…

Robin Rigby

It is with great sadness that we announce the tragic death of our friend and colleague, Dr. Robin Rigby of Kyoto, Japan, who died in a motor vehicle accident on December 9, 2007. Among many accomplishments, Robin was a project leader for the global nearshore biodiversity project, NaGISA, and helped to establish this important project in the Gulf of Maine Area.

Robin defined the word “brilliant” in every sense of the word and could light up a room with her presence. Her intelligence, energy and warmth will be missed by all of us.

The important work that Robin began with the Census of Marine Life will continue throughout the world for years to come.

Cobscook Bay History of the Nearshore Project

Solaster endeca (Linnaeus, 1771). Common name is sunstar.

New data from on-shore and underwater sampling of intertidal species – from seaweed to seastars – will be compared to historic data dating back nearly two centuries to help to complete a picture of how marine life in the intertidal zone has changed over time.

As part of the Census of Marine Life, an international team began to investigate changes in biodiversity along the intertidal and near-shore zones of Cobscook Bay in the lower Bay of Fundy, near the US-Canadian border. Cobscook Bay has been studied by naturalists for centuries and is considered by many researchers to be the “crown jewel of biodiversity” with species communities more diverse than any other on the east coast north of the tropics. Due to its unique geography, this highly productive macro-tidal estuary experiences tides of over eight meters and has habitats ranging from bedrock to mudflats.

Researchers on boat

In August 2007, scientists from six countries – Australia, Canada, Japan, Serbia, Spain, and United States – gathered at the Friedman Field Station of Suffolk University in Edmunds, Maine to review their research plan. In the first week, the researchers learned and used the NaGISA sampling protocol that has been applied along coastlines around the world. In the weeks following, the samples collected were sorted and species identified to establish a database that will be used as a comparative baseline for decades to come. Learn more from their photo journals, personal essays, and research logs.

Cobscook Bay research crew August 07
Cobscook Bay research crew, Friedman Field Station, August 2007

This portion of the History of the Near Shore research project is one part of a collaborative program of US and Canadian researchers that will contribute to the global inventory of near-shore plant and animal species, enhance our knowledge of changes in intertidal species over time, and contribute to a greater understanding of a rich and vital marine ecosystem, the Gulf of Maine.

Go to the photo journal »