P.O. Box 235, Friendship, ME 04547 (207) 832-8224 www.lobsters.org

September 14, 1999

Dear Volunteers and Friends of The Lobster Conservancy,

August brought the expected flurry of activity with TLC's research, volunteer program, and outreach in full swing!

News from the Board of Directors
Friendship Lobster Laboratory

The laboratory continued to welcome many visitors as helpers. Great thanks for the hard manual labor put in by Adria Elskus, Larry LeBlanc, Arilda and Dan Densch, Carol and Gary Lundquist, George Geier, and Alex Loer. The place is shaping up and starting to look good. In fact, when Helen Muther — who paid her first visit with Diane back in November before the pounds were ours — noticed the great progress we've made!

Larry LeBlanc and Adria Elksus provided music after a day of chores at the Friendship Lobster Laboratory. Photo by Diane F. Cowan.

The solar panels, appropriate appliances and assorted pieces of our power system have all been ordered. The master electrician is lined up and it looks like the pound will be in full swing before too long. Much wood has been chopped and stacked as the days get shorter and we prepare for winter.

George Baker donated his time, film, expertise, and equipment to prepare photographic prints and enlargements. This is a great help to our outreach and fundraising efforts. A picture is worth at least a thousand words and your generosity to TLC is second only to your moral support and strong faith in our future success. Thank you, George.

Bob Lane piloted Spencer Apollonio over for a visit. Thanks for the great discussion about lobsters and research. We're looking forward to seeing your new book in print, Spence!

And, finally, a reluctant farewell to all of our neighbors on Friendship Long Island. Hat sales have soared as so many of you bought Lobster Conservancy hats as souvenirs to take home with you at the end of the season. I will miss you, and I look forward to seeing you in the Spring!

Don Rich found this lobster living by the open gate of the pound. Diane tagged and released it. Photo by Diane F. Cowan.

Speaking of farewells, we also bid goodbye to Julia Dietz, a summer intern at the Island Institute who helped out with our Intertidal Lobster Monitoring Program. Thank you for your assistance in the office and in the field this summer and best wishes with your studies at Bowdoin.

As one door closes another opens. We are pleased to welcome Nancy Appel Boothby of Waldoboro to the office in Friendship. Nancy is a Penobscot Bay Marine Volunteer and will be working part-time on our Adopt-a-Lobster Program as well as other administrative tasks. Office help is greatly appreciated and there are plenty more tasks awaiting other volunteers, so come on down!

Research News
August at Lowell's Cove uncovered an unprecedented proportion of previously tagged lobsters. Of the 118 lobsters caught that were big enough to tag, 26 were recaptures! It is interesting to find such a high number of lobsters being recaptured because at these small sizes one would expect high mortality due to predation. In addition, lobsters are highly mobile, and, so, it is somewhat surprising that the juveniles are staying in the cove. Most of the recaptured lobsters had molted at least once since being tagged. These data will be useful in determining the growth rates, estimating mortality, and investigating small-scale movements of the juvenile lobsters.

Diane and Polly Wilson found 4th stage postlarvae at Lowell's Cove in August. Photo by Diane F. Cowan.

In addition to the lobsters that were big enough to tag, many young-of-the-year were found — including several 4th stage postlarvae — one of which was discovered by Polly Wilson on her very first lobster hunt. Congratulations Polly and welcome to the monitoring program. Zachary Lindsey continues to hone his skills at Lowell's Cove and has taken on a transect of his own. His friend, Brian York, joined us on the 12th.

At Pott's Point, Kristine Osolin and Jeff Polley found 3 lobsters, ranging from 24-70 mm in carapace length (CL). They noted a multitude of green crabs and rock crabs.

On Jaquish Island, Ned and Kathy Osolin found 15 lobsters (32-60 mm CL), including a "slippery" one that got away.

In Cundy's Harbor, Amy Watson was puzzled to find only 2 lobsters (32-34 mm CL)–only 1 along her transect and the other on a haphazard search. Lobster densities have been consistently low this year compared with the 2 previous years Amy that has studied Cundy's Harbor.

In Little Harbor, Corie Bibber and Pat Masonheimer found 7 lobsters (range 5-46 mm CL) including 2 settlers measuring less than 7 mm CL. At Mackeral Cove, Corie and Pat found 5 juvenile lobsters (22-43 mm CL).

Scheduling constraints meant that Chris Heinig had to sample Gun Point on August 14th, a day when the elements were against him. Not only did the tide not drain as low as predicted, but there was a strong surge, and plenty of runoff from rain. His thermometer ceased working and his calipers broke!! But did that stop him? Of course not. Chris still managed to find 8 lobsters (32-59 mm CL) while exploring some new transects closer to the water's edge.

New Hampshire and Southern Maine
At Seapoint in Kittery, Maine Al Stewart and Bobbi Costello found 3 lobster (35-43 mm CL) plus a settler measuring only 5 mm CL. The settler had the classic coloration with creamy markings on the rostrum, claw, and carapace. They noted many crabs in the area, including large Jonah crabs (4-6 inches wide) strolling about, apparently unconcerned about foraging gulls.

Al and Bobbi also randomly checked Odiorne Point State Park, New Hampshire. On August 12th, they found 27 lobsters ( 23-55 mm CL) in tide pools, and an overwhelming number of green crabs. On August 14th, Bobbi found an additional 7 juvenile lobsters at Odiorne (31-49 mm CL). Barb Zulkiewicz and her daughter Jessica Byrne took over the transect line at Odiorne that Al and Bobbi began monitoring last year. In August, they found 4 lobsters (39-60 mm CL) along the transect.

Al Stewart led training sessions for new volunteers in New Hampshire. Photo by Sara Ellis.

On August 14th Al, Bobbi, and Barb Z. trained Julie Ligon, Timothea Jouse, and Kathy Argue how to monitor lobsters in the intertidal zone at Odiorne. These new folks are interested in becoming volunteers in New Hampshire or southern Maine next year.

Muscongus Bay
During the August low tides, Sara demonstrated the monitoring protocol to several visitors in Friendship Harbor. On August 10th, Jim McMillan of the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans observed how we find and document intertidal lobsters. Jim's visit coincided with a partial solar eclipse, which we viewed through specialized sunglasses! Two days later, writer David Burnham came along to learn about our study techniques. David and his wife and fellow writer, Joanne Omang, live in Friendship whenever they can get away from Washington DC, and have become great friends of TLC.

Penobscot Bay
Chris Wentzel-Brehme and Julia Dietz of the Island Institute have updated the website that includes information on TLC's involvement in the Penobscot Bay Collaborative Lobster Project. The updated page (http://www.islandinstitute.org/penbay/tlc.htm) includes a site map and photos of Pen Bay volunteers.

Patterns that we noted earlier in the summer held through August, with the greatest abundance of lobsters being found in the outer and eastern portions of the bay, and no lobsters being found further up the bay.

On Allen Island, Michael Wall tried splitting up his transect to have two sections close to the water's edge. This strategy paid off, and Mike found a record 30 lobsters (27-57 mm CL).

At Drift Inn Beach, Port Clyde, Jane Roundy and Julie Wortman beat their own records by finding 24 lobsters (21-54 mm CL). While they looked hard and saw plenty of tiny shrimp swimming through the water, they did not find any settlers this year, or last. But just remember–it ain't over 'til it's over

Alfred Petterson, Leslie Fuller, Annette Naegel and Julia Dietz teamed up to search for lobsters at Waterman Beach in South Thomaston. They found one lobster on their transect (42 mm CL), and 3 randomly (34-82 mm CL). Whenever they did locate lobsters, they could see evidence of burrowing under each rock.

Over the summer, Peter and Raquel Boehmer checked out the western shore of Monhegan Island from Lobster Cove to just beyond Pebble Beach. Although we have no doubt that settling and juvenile lobsters use the intertidal zone on Monhegan, we've come to the conclusion that the shoreline is not amenable to intertidal lobster monitoring. In most coves containing rocks, the rocks are too large to be lifted by mere mortals. The coves that contain small rocks, such as Fish Beach (which the Boehmers tried to survey from June to August), are too narrow for laying transect lines. Thank you Peter and Raquel for your valiant efforts.

On Matinicus Island, Emily, Eric, and Eva Murray uncovered 2 lobsters (44 and 50 mm CL), one of which was regenerating its crusher claw. They recorded many other marine organisms at their site in Condon Cove.

On Isle au Haut, Kipp Quinby and Kathi Fiveash also found two lobsters (32 and 42 mm CL).

On Vinalhaven John and Ginger Van Ness continued to monitor a shortened transect line in the rocky intertidal zone plus a grid within eel grass beds. They found 6 lobsters (38-58 mm CL) along their transect, and another 4 (33-73 mm CL) in eel grass. John and Ginger felt that the eel grass was thicker than the previous month and that lobster densities were lower. As we mentioned last month, searching for lobsters in eel grass is not for the faint of heart, as it requires probing U-shaped burrows by hand. This point was driven home by one lobster which grabbed on tight to one of these dedicated volunteers to the point of drawing blood! Maybe it's time to resort to gloves, folks.

At Glen Cove in Rockport, Greg Kibitz and Brian Dalton needed no protection from lobsters, as there weren't any along their 20-m transect line.

Sharon Sneed, a former Pen Bay Marine Volunteer, randomly searched for intertidal lobsters at Moose Point State Park, a site at the head of the bay that she monitored last year. She found no juveniles lobsters this month, which is consistent with her findings last year.

On Deer Isle, Ken and Terry Bovee flipped 35 rocks at Sand Beach, and 40 rocks at Sylvester Cove. In each case they found no lobsters. Sand Beach had crabs under most rocks, in contrast with Sylvester Beach where there were few crabs, but many starfish.

Once again, no juvenile lobsters were found along the shores of Islesboro. Jim Mitchell and Bob Congdon surveyed 20 quadrats at Sprague Cove, while Ed and Alice Girvin and Tyne Barber looked randomly at Grindle Point.

On North Haven, teacher Luke Howell, Julia Dietz, and students from the North Haven Community School survey Tar Tank Cove. Despite great efforts and enthusiasm, they found no lobsters, but had fun identifying other marine plants and animals.

In September, the lowest monthly tides are beginning to be associated with the full moon, as opposed to earlier this season when they were associated with the new moon. This month the best low tides are in the evening, in contrast with the early morning low tides we've been experiencing this field season. For those volunteers who have not yet told us, please let us know which days between September 26th and 30th you'll be going out monitoring. Remember to keep your eyes peeled for settlers in September, even if you haven't found lobsters yet at your site.

Special Events
Kudos to Susan Barber, Executive Director of the Maine Lobster Promotion Council for hosting the Governor's annual lobster tasting. Yum, yum. This year's theme was "Thanksgiving Lobster" to promote the sale of lobsters in November, which is traditionally the time of year when the market is at it's lowest. Chefs from all over Maine created tasty dishes to compete for gold, silver, and bronze medals. Thanks for the recipes and great food, and this fine occasion to socialize with lobster people from all over Maine. For the gourmet chefs among us, all the delicious recipes from the tasting are posted on the web at http://www.mainelobsterpromo.com/recipes.html.

Outreach and Education
The Lobster Conservancy set up a display at the 52nd annual Maine Lobster Festival as one of the educational displays in the Marine Tent. Thank you to Michael Dunn of Marine Education Experience Unlimited in Warren, Maine, for the invitation. There was lots of interest in TLC's display: over 140 people from Maine to Australia signed our guest book, and we spoke to many more. Thanks go to Joe Mariano of the Island Institute for helping to set up the display. We are especially appreciative of Carol and Gary Lundquist, and George Geier of Michigan, as well as Pen Bay Marine volunteers Greg Kibitz and Nancy Appel Boothby, who volunteered to talk to visitors about The Lobster Conservancy at this busy event.

Gary and Carol Lundquist and George Geier manned TLC's display at the Maine Lobster Festival. Photo by Sara Ellis.

Diane's talk - entitled "The Lobster Life Cycle: From Egg to Plate" - at the Hahn Community Center in Friendship, Maine was well attended. The Fishermen's Heritage Lobster Coop kindly donated two lobsters (one male and one female) for demonstration purposes. The interest level was high, as evidenced by the lively question and answer session following the talk. We were pleased that so many neighbors showed up. It was a pleasure meeting you all.

Have you visited TLC's web site lately? If not, you may want to give it a try. New Hampshire volunteer and software engineer, Al Stewart, has redesigned the site slightly and optimized it to shorten download time. Also TLC has moved its web site to a new server. Our site is now being hosted by Great Works Internet of Biddeford, Maine (http://www.gwi.net). GWI provides fast and reliable internet access and web-hosting to non-profit organizations in Maine for a very minimal fee. While our web address, or URL, is still the same (http://www.lobsters.org), you may find that your old bookmarks don't work. Just surf to the new page and make new bookmarks, while deleting old ones. Please note that as a result of this move, our e-mail addresses have changed to dcowan@lobsters.org and sellis@lobsters.org. Happy surfing!

Yours in TLC and Friendship,

Sara Ellis, Executive Director and Diane Cowan, Senior Scientist

TLC News