FRIENDSHIP, Maine — The Maine Community Foundation has awarded a $4,500 grant to The Lobster Conservancy, which will use the funds to install a new tide gauge at Friendship in support of the conservancy‚Äôs 2012 Juvenile Lobster Census.
Since 1992, this volunteer-based census has counted post-larval and early-juvenile lobsters in their shoreline nursery habitats — from Green Harbor, Massachusetts to Beals, Maine — that are exposed only during the lowest tides each month. The study has produced unique and uninterrupted time-series data on the settlement, abundance, and growth patterns of these baby lobsters.
Unfortunately, many of the lobster nurseries under long-term study have recently become inaccessible because the tide no longer recedes low enough for The Lobster Conservancy to count the lobsters on a reliable basis. This is likely due to rising sea levels. Changes in the habitat at the lobster nurseries may also be influenced by rising sea levels.
The Maine Community Foundation funds will be used to help install and maintain a tide gauge in Friendship. NOAA now maintains four tidal gauges in Maine (at Seavey Island, Portland, Bar Harbor and Eastport), but none of those is suitable for generating accurate data on tides along the mid-coast ‚Äď including Friendship. The Lobster Conservancy intends to measure the local tides in order to better learn how the tides influence lobsters and lobster habitat.
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