Personal Perspective

Samantha Benton

The Gulf of Maine

Many visiting have been told
That the gulf is Maine’s heart and soul.
As the tides ebb and flow,
They demand that you know.
A seal glides by,
Catching an explorer’s weary eye.
On a foggy, cool morning a loon cries
While its mate flies.
Oh what a place to behold
As the people of Maine have foretold.
You can never tire,
Of seeing an eagle fly higher.
For whether you find a small snail,
Or a whale breaches while you set sail,
This is truly a remarkable place
So please, when you go, set a slow pace.
For your memories will always remain
of wonders from the Gulf of Maine.

– Samantha Benton, 2007

Kenneth Daher on left with Jorge Negrin Dastis, right
Photo: Kenneth Daher on left with Jorge Negrin Dastis, right.

Standing in the rocky intertidal of Birch Island on that rainy August afternoon, I was excited to use my experience of past years as an assistant at Suffolk University’s, R. S. Friedman Field Station to contribute towards a project examining the biodiversity of Cobscook Bay. I found slipping around on rockweed in driving rain, with a Bald Eagle chick calling overhead, a comical contrast to participating in a mark-recapture study of seahorses in Tampa Bay during the school year. It was a privilege to work with such a cool group of people transecting and sorting samples. Learning the techniques associated with the project like scrapings, preserving voucher specimens and cataloging samples has been personally beneficial. Although the NaGISA protocol is designed for any place around the globe, I felt fortunate to work at a location in beautiful Cobscook Bay that was just a five minute boat ride from the field station. The experience of participating in a project that incorporated researchers from different regions and from multiple disciplines is one that I will certainly draw from in the future.

- Kenneth E. Daher, 2007

Research crew members, Jorge, Kate, Christina with P.I., Tom Trott
From left to right: Research crew members, Jorge, Kate, Christina with P.I., Tom Trott

My participation this ’07 summer with an international team of extremely competent and inspiring researchers in fields such as Botany, Marine Biology and Zoology, Fisheries, Oceanography and Ecology, the great staff working at Suffolk University’s, R. S. Friedman Field Station providing delicious food and infrastructure facilities, the environment’s extraordinary diverse surroundings covered by the Bay of Fundy flora and fauna, all have been inspiring and widely positive for my learning and social experience.

The Bay of Fundy provides a pivotal image of the ecological state of the Atlantic Ocean and could provide us with simple effective answers to many long-thought questions. Historical environmental archives from the sampled site compared with the present sampled status of the area, draws a very distinct pattern time line characterized by the richness and abundance of the 1950’s to a complete depletion of today’s most prominent marine resources such as cod. The advantage of conducting Census of Marine Life research is the intrinsic field work component embedded into the program. The inventory and monitoring of species from a specific area through time builds a solid and valuable image of the state of our ecosystems. This helps to draw further attention to the use of Ecosystem Base Management models in the coming days for ecosystem management and future designation of Marine Protected Areas.

It’s all about gathering data locally from various field projects and combining it at the global level to get the bigger picture. What an exciting adventure it has been and I definitely recommend to anyone interested in field research this job experience! Great CBBIMA ‘07 NaGISA crew!

- Jorge Negrin Dastis, 2007

Christina M. Kulfan

Working on the NaGISA- Census of Marine Life Birch Island project at Cobscook Bay was an amazing experience. The involvement of leading marine scientists in combination with the beautiful natural coastal scenery of northern Maine made this a truly inspiring project to be a part of. The collection of coastal benthic data from sites such as this one over time is important for obtaining information on regional biodiversity and on a larger scale, coastal system function. This information could ultimately be used to address a wide variety of environmental concerns at both the local and global scale. I am proud to have played a small part in this global effort.

- Christina M. Kulfan, B.Sc., GradDipRes, Research Assistant, 2007