The Island View:
Summer at Shoals Marine Laboratory
July, 2014

Dear Friends of Shoals Marine Laboratory,

I spent the morning in the tide pools with the students of Marine Evolution and Diversity. The pools were filled with a colorful array of algae and marine critters. The students were bubbling with excitement as the pulled now familiar algae from the water and peppered Dr. Jan Factor with questions about the invertebrates- the topic of the morning.


This is what summer at Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML) is all about! Immersive field science on our very own Appledore Island, where students can examine the kilowatts of power coming out of the solar array one moment and a lobster the next. This is the stuff that makes lifelong lovers of coastal ecosystems and responsible stewards of our precious natural resources.


On the island right now, SML is hosting four classes: Marine Environmental Science, Field Animal Behavior, Introduction to Marine Mammal Biology, and Evolution and Marine Diversity. All of our beds are full and the faculty have their students engaged in a perfect blend of intense learning and heaps of fun. In the midst of this activity, I would like to share with you some recent news and developments.

Join Us on Appledore This Summer- Virtually!
Photo: Tailor Heaton

Several Shoalers are chronicling life on Appledore Island this summer. Dr. Robin Hadlock Seeley -SML's Cornell Academic Coordinator and Instructor of Evolution and Marine Diversity- is writing about the thrills and skills of teaching an immersive field course on our island classroom:


Tailor Heaton- a Gull Intern, returning Shoaler, and Cornell rising junior- is reporting on the life and times of our gulls, and joys of scientific research:


Erica Anderson- our very first Thaxter Garden Intern and graduate fellow in the Public Garden Leadership Program at Cornell University- is narrating the growth of the garden and interpretation program:

Shoals Marine Laboratory Faculty Highlights
Photo: Hal Weeks

SML's very own Dr. Jim Coyer's paper in Systematics and Biodiversity (volume 11, #3, pages: 271-284) on the evolutionary history of seagrass was recently selected as a winner of the outstanding papers published in Systematics and Biodiversity during 2013. This award is given based on scientific significance and originality. This paper represents progress in our understanding of evolutionary diversification and adaptive potential in the Zosteraceae, a family of seagrasses present in temperate coastal waters worldwide. The information present in this publication is relevant to uncovering how climate change impacts marine diversity and species change. 

Shoals Marine Laboratory Research Highlights
Photo: Sara Morris

The Appledore Island Migration Banding Station, operated under the direction of Dr. Sara Morris of Canisius College, had a successful spring season (April-June) at SML. Over the course of 32 days, these enthusiastic volunteer bird researchers banded 2,288 birds of 67 species, including 30 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. The top three species were Common Yellowthroat (537 banded), Magnolia Warbler (300 banded) and Black-and-White Warbler (147 banded). Noteworthy captures included Rusty Blackbird (second station record), Field Sparrow, Black-billed Cuckoo, 6 Brown Thrashers (probably breeding on island this year), 2 White-eyed Vireos, 2 Summer Tanagers and 3 Red-bellied Woodpeckers.


The station hosted two research teams: Kristen Covino, Ph.D. student from the University of Southern Mississippi who is researching physiological preparation for breeding while birds are in migration; Avian Biology Research Team from Canisius College, studying flight call behavior by migrating warblers.


Students in SML's Field Ornithology class interacted almost daily with these programs as did other SML visitors such as students from schooner Harvey Gamage, Volunteer Weekend participants, the Seacoast Chapter of Audubon New Hampshire, SML Research Interns, and the Tufts University Gull Research team that conducts regular research themselves at Shoals Marine Laboratory.

Appledore Goes to Ithaca!
Photo: David Murray

More than 6,000 years of history come to life in Museum of the Earth's latest exhibition, "Under the Isles of Shoals: Archeology on Smuttynose Island" in Ithaca, NY. The Portsmouth (NH) Historical Society developed the exhibit and the museum is putting its own spin on the show by adding a paleontological component. Several SML faculty including Dr. Nathan Hamilton (Southern Maine University), Dr. Warren Allman (Cornell) and our very own Dr. Robin Hadlock Seeley helped to create the show. The exhibit will run through mid-November, with related events occurring throughout the summer and fall. For more information: 

A Generous Gift from The Rutmans!
Photo:Ron Sher
Thanks to a generous gift from J. Morgan Rutman (UNH class of '84) and his wife Tara, opportunities to learn and do research at the Shoals Marine Laboratory will be more financially accessible for current and prospective UNH students.


The $375,000 gift will provide support for 10-week summer research internships; awards and scholarships to lower the cost of participating in a program for current students as well as high school students with an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math; and new curriculum development.


"The Shoals Marine Lab, under the direction of a new executive director, is a unique and valuable part of the university's new Marine School, and we wanted our gift to have an immediate impact," said Rutman. "We own a home in Rye, we love the ocean, and we wanted to advance one of the university's top priorities. This initiative marries our interest with the university's needs, allowing us to help UNH attract the best and brightest students to the university's marine program, regardless of their financial means."

A Hearty Shoaler Thank You to The Nelsons!
Photo: Jennifer Seavey

We are grateful to Doug and Karin Nelson for hosting the SML Welcome Reception for me as the new Executive Director at their home on June 26th. With their help, over 70 attendees from the New Hampshire and Southern Maine Seacoast were introduced to SML. We hope this is the start to many more Seacoast events! If you live on the Seacoast and would like to get involved in building support for SML, please contact us at:

Calling all Shoalers!!
Photo: Jennifer Seavey

We are looking for proud and energetic SML Alumni to help us unite Shoalers across our 48-year history. We are undertaking this effort in preparation for a blow out reunion in 2016 in celebration of our 50th anniversary! If you would like to get involved in uniting SML Alums, please email us: Please include your name, contact information, your time and activities at SML, and what learning institution you came to SML from. 

 In Closing, 

We are definitely changing lives on Appledore this summer. One of the SML interns told me today that her experience at Shoals has changed the trajectory of her career by helping her pinpoint where she is most passionate about her field. A couple of days ago, a SML student told me that she is now no longer intimidated by the idea of graduate school because of the interaction and advice that she received from SML faculty on island this summer. These stories are not uncommon here and yet we remain extremely proud of these revelations and inspirations. We are dedicated to proving more life changing moments for more students.  


What a special place and unique educational experience for these students. I am really proud of the start we have made to the season. It is all due to the dedicated staff, knowledgeable faculty, unique student opportunities, and stellar supporters. We are actively working to build our momentum as we look to the 50th anniversary. I hope some of you- especially you Shoalers out there- will visit us this summer or follow us online. As always, I welcome your valuable input to keep the community of SML a vibrant place and extraordinary experience for our students.


I'm going to leave you with a taste of summer life from our island home  "...The glory of the uprushing Sun begins to gild the eastern cliffs of Appledore with ineffable splendor, and paint the sea and sky in ever changing shades of celestial color! Oh radiant happiness that comes with the advancing day! Wild roses fill the enchanted air with delicate fragrance and the sparrow sings as if they had but one moment in which to crowd the whole rupture of the morning!" - Oscar Laighton, 1905 (Celia Thaxter's Brother).


With deep appreciation and warm wishes,


Jennifer Seavey, Ph.D.
Kingsbury Director of the Shoals Marine Laboratory

Appledore Island, ME
Shoals Marine Laboratory
102 Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory, 24 Colovos Road
Durham, NH 03824                            Shoals Marine Laboratory Website

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