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Old 20-01-2004, 12:44   #1
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research assistance ?

Before I begin... thank you for your assistance Gord! I bookmarked (and copied) the information you posted under the other thread before I moved this.

Greetings! We're a group of marine biologists from the Univ. of CT at Avery Point (you can check us out at http://www.marinesciences.uconn.edu.../whitlatch.html). We're looking for some help from the boating community, but we're not entirely sure where to start. I'm posting information below about what we're doing with hope that people who travel along the eastern seaboard can make suggestions about where to post this information. We would really appreciate any help you can give. We're trying to get as many people involved as possible!

Here's the info.:

One of our upcoming research projects is evaluating the importance of recreational boat hulls in the transport of marine hull fouling species along the eastern seaboard. This project is a collaboration between researchers in the Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut and the Connecticut Sea Grant College Program.

Although non-native species are observed after they become established in a region, current understanding of how these species are introduced into New England is limited. We plan to determine the current distribution and local abundance of hull fouling species in four regions along the eastern seaboard. We will also monitor survivorship of hull fouling species on boats traveling along the coast to determine the potential of privately owned vessels to transport species from one region to another. Finally, we will examine assumptions made about the usefulness of procedures designed to reduce hull fouling (anti-fouling paints, scraping, etc.).

To conduct this research, we will be relying on voluntary assistance from boat owners along the eastern seaboard. We would like to examine the hulls of 40-50 boats that have over-wintered in the Ft. Lauderdale area. In addition, we are looking for at least 10 boat owners traveling north from Ft. Lauderdale to New England during the spring or summer of 2004 who would be willing to allow us to survey their hull 2-3 days prior to their departure from Ft. Lauderdale (or other southern locales) and again upon arrival at their northern destination. Names and identifying information of vessels and boat owners will be kept anonymous. All surveys will be performed by qualified SCUBA divers. Divers will take underwater photographs of 10 locations on each hull to determine individual species and overall extent of hull fouling. A plastic scraper and suction device (similar to a vacuum cleaner) will also be used to collect samples of organisms for species identification.

A copy of our hull fouling survey form can be found at (http://www.marinesciences.uconn.edu/teamb/home.html). I'm currently redesigning our web page and will be making a few changes to the survey form as well as posting more information about our project. Connecticut Sea Grant has donated copies of an excellent boating safety book (Water Wise by Jerry Dzugan and S. C. Jensen) for anyone who chooses to participate in completing the survey. If you fill out the form before I add a box for your name/address at the bottom (it will specifically state that you should enter your name to receive a copy of the book after I change it), you can either enter your information on question 8 or send a separate email to Sara.Koch@UConn.edu

Thanks for reading through this and feel free to get in touch if you have questions!
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Old 20-01-2004, 13:28   #2
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Question Teambenthoes

I was talking to some people here at the boat show this weekend, and they were saying that the pollution in the rivers and habors of the NY area has gone down so much that they are having trouble with marine growth now. Which are eating pilings and causing bottom growth problems.
Is this part of/or the reason behind your research?

Just curious
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Old 20-01-2004, 14:25   #3
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That isn't part of our research, but someone gave a talk here at U.Conn. not too long ago. Unfortunately, I can't remember who it was. I could dig up some information though if anyone's interested.

It's interesting to hear that your friends have noticed an increase of organisms fouling their boat hulls though. There is one invasive species in particular that seems to be showing up along the NE coast (see http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2003/s2125.htm for a nice description). This species appears to occur north of VA at this point. Part of our lab group is coordinating with other scientists on the east and west coast to gather more information on this species. We'd be very interested to know if people spot this one!
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Old 20-01-2004, 15:03   #4
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Unhappy This sounds a lot like the Zebra mussel infection (?)

These things got into the Great Lakes and recreational boaters started spreading them. When you fellas draw your conclusions I'd sure be interested in your findings .
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Old 21-01-2004, 07:34   #5
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When I define invasive species for people, zebra mussels always seem to come up in the conversation because they're such a well-known example (at least up north...Florida's full of invasives). Unfortunately, scientists don't have a set list of criteria to predict when a non-native species will become invasive in an area because there are so many interactions that occur within any ecosystem. At this point, it is important to identify how, and to what extent, non-native species move along the eastern seaboard and to evaluate various anti-fouling techniques that individuals employ (paints, scraping, etc.). A recent Coast Guard estimate indicates thousands of privately-owned boats make annual round-trip sojourns between New England and Florida, but accurate counts don't seem to be available (anyone know of any source that collects this information?). Another important aspect is mapping the current range of hull-fouling species along the eastern seaboard. Collecting range information is a collaborative effort between numerous organizations and individuals, but we've been busy looking under floating docks along the New England coast. Not bad work in the summer, but I'm dreading sticking my hands into Long Island Sound today (the water temp. is around 3 degrees). Technically, I guess I'm a non-native species since I'm originally from GA. Anyways, we'll be posting our hull-fouling results on our website as information rolls in. I promise I'm working on updating the entire site! And if anyone has any biological questions, I'll be happy to have a go at them or find an answer from someone else around here. My background is working with birds (MS Biology from Wake Forest Univ.), but I've been enjoying the marine environment for almost a year now. Take care and keep warm if you're up north!
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Old 21-01-2004, 15:45   #6
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Why would this issue be limited to recreational vessels? Why would commercial vessels not also be the subject of this inquiry?
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Old 22-01-2004, 07:16   #7
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There are a few reasons we are focusing on recreational hulls instead of commercial vessels. One of the main reasons is that studies have traditionally focused on commercial tankers, cruise ships, and cargo vessels. At this point, there is simply less information about hull fouling communities on recreational vessels. We're hoping to expand the knowledge base (with a lot of help from individuals who cruise the eastern seaboard!).

A short, general background...
Transport of species on hulls has occurred since humans began using oceans for exploration and commerce. The change from wooden ships to steel or fiberglass stopped the transport of wood-boring species, but hull fouling species have remained an issue. On commercial vessels, fouling species in ballast water, anchor wells, dry dock strips on keels, and hulls have been studied. There's some great information on invasive species and current work at the Smithsonian webpage http://invasions.si.edu/ and also CSIRO, an Australian site, http://crimp.marine.csiro.au/. Australia has been hit by some serious invasions that are devastating shipping and mariculture industries there. If you're interested, it's worthwhile to look into some of the work that is being done there.


Quick update...
We've sent out information to most, if not all, large marinas in the Ft. Lauderdale, FL area. If you, or someone you know, will be sailing from that area to New England and want to get involved, we would love to hear from you! At this point, a few marina operators have agreed to let us survey their docks, but we have yet to hear back from boat owners. This is a great opportunity to get directly involved with research and learn more about the environment. Surely someone is interested?
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Old 16-03-2004, 14:58   #8
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update

Greetings once again!
We're still searching for willing survey participants. If you will be traveling as part of a group from the Caribbean to New England this spring/summer, we'd be very interested in touching bases with you. Hopefully all the snow birds out there are enjoying some sunshine down south. As I look out my window today, the snow's coming down in a fury...just when we thought spring was here!
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Old 03-05-2004, 08:06   #9
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current plans

Spring is attempting to make an appearance on the coast of CT and we're starting to see a few seasonal boats (3 to be exact) appear in our Long Island Sound harbor. Our hull fouling survey team of 5 people will leave for Ft. Lauderdale this Fri. (May 7). They'll be in the Ft. Lauderdale area until the 15th and then they're heading up the coast to Morehead City, NC until May 24th. We have marinas that will allow us to survey their docks & pilings, but we're still hoping to find some boat owners willing to participate. Anyone?
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Old 01-06-2004, 14:40   #10
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Cool success down south

We'd like to thank the marina operators and boat owners who met with our group in the Ft. Lauderdale, Fort Pierce, and Morehead City areas. It was great to hear where some of these boats have been even if I had to hear the stories secondhand. Someone had to hold down the fort in Connecticut! The only boat I've been on or under this season is still on land. With no boat of my own I exchange waxing, sanding, varnishing, and general cleaning for time on the water. Not a bad deal really. Anyways, we've downloaded plenty of underwater pictures and I should have them on our website soon along with names of the marinas gracious enough to let us survey their docks. We're hoping to do some surveying up here (New England) beginning next week. So, if you have a boat up here and want your hull surveyed drop us a line. We'd love to meet you!
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