Location: Bowdoin / Coastal Studies Center / Student Research / Summer 2011 / Jacob Shorty, '12

Coastal Studies Center

Jacob Shorty, '12

Advisor: Damon Gannon, Award: Doherty Fellowship
Project: Microhabitat selection and intertidal range of the rock gunnel


The rock gunnel (Pholis gunnellus) is a small, eel-like fish found on both coasts of the North Atlantic. The rock gunnel can be found intertidally from early spring to late fall, moving to deeper waters only when sea temperatures are at their coolest. It plays an ecologically significant role as a primary food source for a variety of larger organisms, including fish, birds (such as the double-crested cormorant), and mammals (such as the river otter). Additionally, the rock gunnel has been identified as an effective environmental sentinel for monitoring contaminant impacts in the coastal environment. Increasing global air and sea surface temperatures are well documented. It is unclear whether climate change will have implications for the rock gunnel. If water temperature is a limiting factor regarding the rock gunnel’s southern range along the US east coast, an increase could significantly decrease availability of suitable habitat.  This project will investigate the hypothesis that increasing seawater temperatures are causing a northward shift in the geographic range of the rock gunnel. To this end, the goals of this project are threefold: (1) to determine the preferred intertidal microhabitat of rock gunnels, and the impact of various habitat characteristic on habitat selection, (2) to determine the southern extent of the rock gunnel’s intertidal range, and (3) to use existing data to determine the subtidal distribution of the rock gunnel and the effects of habitat availability and rising water temperatures on that range.  

Pecha Kucha

These presentations are in PechaKucha format. PechaKucha is Japanese for ‘chit-chat’. It is a presentation methodology devised in 2003 in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each. The slides auto advance to keep the presentations concise and quick paced. Each presentation is (about) 6 minutes and 40 seconds long.
Click the image to watch...