Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Clavelina Lepadiformis in the Thames?

Finally after getting some nice weather and everyone's schedule aligned we made a trip to the Thames River to look for Clavelina lepadiformis. "SCUBA" Joe Magniafico had thought he had seen the invasive tunicate during the winter of 2007-2008 off a pier on the New London side, but we needed to go back to confirm it's presence.

After a smooth ride 10 minute from the Uconn Avery Point campus in the R/V Challenger Joe and Lauren Stefaniak splashed over the sides in their dry suits. In a few moments SCUBA Joe's suspicions were confirmed, Clavelina lepadiformis is indeed present in the Thames River.

New London is an international port with large commercial vessels using the harbor everyday and are perhaps serving as a vector to spread this new invader. Where else might Clavelina lepadiformis be going?

Friday, October 16, 2009

My first siting of Clavelina sp. in Long Island Sound

Yesterday (October 15th, 2009), Dave Hudson and I were taking some survey photos in Stonington Harbor, New London Co., CT. We were just checking out the usual fouling community species Botrylliodes violaceus, Didemnum vexillum, Bugula neritina, (all invasives) when Dave pointed to something different. I immediately got excited. I have never seen this species before. So I started snapping some pictures. Dave and I took a sample so that we (or maybe Lauren Stefaniak) can make a more exact species identification latter in the lab.

Well after doing some preliminary investigation on the internet, the species is almost certainly of the genus Clavelina order Aplousabranchia. The common name is the "light bulb tunicate". I would say that it is quite a good looking species, but I don't know if it belongs here. Please let me know if you are familiar with this species. Have you seen it in Long Island Sound before?

Summer SeaGrant Project

This past summer I worked with a high school student on a Connecticut SeaGrant funded project to gather preliminary data of the biomass of hard-substrate epifaunal communities, also affectionately called fouling communities. It was a great pleasure to work with Olivia Fortunato, I only hope that she got as much out of the project as I did. The research we did this past summer has laid a great foundation for future work investigate biomass and energy flow in benthic communities.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dave Hudson PNB Student Conducts Marine Research

Dave Hudson is a PhD student at the University of Connecticut in the Department of Physiology and Neurobiology. His dissertation is on the ecophysiology of invasive crabs on the New England and East coast United States. Naturally, he has established close collaborations with other scientist and students in the Department of Marine Sciences (DMS) an the Marine Science and Technology Center. DMS and MSTC, through the dive program and boat operations, help supply Dave with the necessary resources to undertake his research.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 30, 2009

Finally, I was able to get out for a dive today [60 mins at 17ft]. The visibility was pretty terrible after the wind and choppy conditions we had yesterday. Rick Osman and I took the R/V Tautog out to Bushy Point. We had two objectives: 1) Take pictures of Rick's 'piling experiment' and, 2) start to dismantle my metacommunity experiment. We got all the pictures taken and we put a small dent in the dismantling process. It was a little frustrating out there today... someone had altered my weight belt, the camera fogged up briefly, my masked kept filing up (I need a haircut) and I could only see three feet. I've had better dives. But, hey, not everybody gets to do this for a living!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September 29, 2009

Well the sun is shining, the weather is warm but it is blowing like hell. Rick Osman and I were planning on doing a little diving today, but we have scrubbed the dive.

Check out for live weather data on long island sound.