Team Benthos is at it again this summer! If you have walked around the Rankin Lab this summer you may have noticed graduate students and interns working hard maintaining a set of mesocosm tanks on the back patio. The mesocosms are part of an EPA funded project examining the effects of climate and land-use change on native and invasive species and their ecosystems in southern New England. Inside the tanks you will find eel grass, seaweeds, at least 4 different snails, oysters, as well as Team Benthos’ favorite group, the tunicates.
The project, in its second full year of operation, uses an automated system to regulate temperature and nutrient additions. Still, the mesocosms need plenty of TLC from the interns to make sure water is still running and the tanks are cleaned.
Also, Team Benthos has been conducting a survey of the shallow hard substrate benthic community from Branford, CT to Newport, RI. Divers have been documenting the benthic assemblage in order to make a comparison to previous surveys as well as establish a baseline for understanding rates and processes of change in our coastal environments. Last year divers documented a recently introduced species. Surveys are also necessary to document the persistence, spread or extirpation of this new invasive.
Other projects include our ongoing benthic recruitment monitoring, and predator experiments. If you have more questions check out Teambenthos.uconn.edu and check out the map of some of the sites that have been surveyed and the images of the communities present!
View 2010 Team Benthos Coastal Subtidal Survey in a larger map