Campus News

Summer Research at the Coastal Studies Center

Story posted July 23, 2002

What does landscape painting have in common with zooplankton? How do sea urchins fit in with trail construction? What do clams have to do with forest mapping?

These varied subjects do indeed have a common denominator: the Bowdoin College Coastal Studies Center (CSC). The CSC is a hotbed of summer research by students and faculty in a variety disciplines.

Located about 12 miles from campus on Orr's Island, the CSC is an ideal location for interdisciplinary teaching and research. It occupies a 118-acre site surrounded on three sides by the ocean, encompassing open fields, orchards and old-growth spruce-fir forest. With its marine biological laboratory (with flowing seawater for observation of live marine organisms), and terrestrial ecology laboratory (serving as a field station for research and study of coastal ecology, as well as an art studio), the CSC plays an active role in Bowdoin's programs in biology, environmental studies, geology, art and archaeology.

The following research projects are underway this summer:

Seven Rusack fellows are involved in a variety of projects.

Josh Atwood '04 and Juliana Grinvalsky '04 are both working with Assistant Professor John Lichter. Atwood's project is historical soil erosion associated with 19th-century subsistence agriculture. Grinvalsky is working on plant community dynamics of Merrymeeting Bay.

Steven Carpenter '03 is working with Visiting Assistant Professor Greg Teegarden on zooplankton grazing and harmful algal blooms (toxin accumulation kinetics in planktonic food webs).

Adrienne Heflich '05 is making an examination of pre-colonial seasonal habitation at the Coastal Studies Center through a study of the soft-shell clam (Myaarenaria) growth patterns. Her advisor is CSC Director Anne Henshaw.

Megan Lim '03 and Edward Sweeney '03 are working with Associate Professor Ed Laine. Lim is studying freshwater salinity anomalies in Harpswell Sound, while Sweeney is studying glaciomarine sedimentation beneath eastern Casco Bay.

The final Rusack fellow, Rachel Tannebring '03, is working on a project called "Painting Maine's Coastal Landscapes" with advisor Assistant Professor Jim Mullen.

Three students are working on the CSC Trail Construction Project under the sponsorship of Rusack. Ashley Berendt '03, Conor Carpenter '03, and Carolyn Johnson '05 are all working on the Rusack Trail Project under the advisement of Anne Henshaw and CSC caretaker/research assistant Mark Murray.

Jon Harris 05 and John Carpenter 05 are Rusack Research Assistants working with John Lichter. Their project involves forest ecology mapping.

Jamie Holte 03, Laura Windecker 03 and Nissa Lohrmann 03 are working at CSC as Dougherty Fellows. Holte is studying the flushing of Quahog Bay with advisor Ed Laine. Windecker is working on growth mechanisms and size dependence in sea urchins with Associate Professor Amy Johnson. Lohrmann is working with Assistant Professor Barry Logan on seasonal acclimation of antioxidants in two local red algae with differing stress tolerance.

Surdna Fellow Joy Giguere 03 is doing an archaeological investigation of the cultural and natural formation processes of the coastal shell middens in Brewer Cove, Orrs Island and Harpswell. Her advisor is Anne Henshaw.

Gibbons Fellow Michelle Weaver 03 is working with biology laboratory instructor Dave Guay on the continued development of the CSC marine biodiversity data base.

Click here to visit the Coastal Studies Center Web site.

About the Research Fellowships and Internships
The Rusack Coastal Studies Fellowships, provided through the generous gift of Geoffrey C. Rusack '78 and Alison Wrigley Rusack, are open to students in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences involved in projects that bring new insight and understanding to coastal studies. The fund promotes and facilitates student and faculty study projects at Bowdoin's Coastal Studies Center, the surrounding coastal areas, and Casco Bay.

The Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation fellowships are awarded to students to support substantial participation in a scientific research project under the direction of a faculty member. Fellowships are awarded for summer research projects in marine and coastal studies.

Each Surdna Fellow participates in an undergraduate research project under the direction of a faculty member. The purpose is to engage the student directly in a serious attempt to extend knowledge, and give the fellow firsthand acquaintance with productive scholarly work.

Gibbons internships, provided through the gift of John A. Gibbons, Bowdoin class of 1964, are coordinated through the College's Educational Technology Center. The internships enable students to work with members of the faculty on projects that use technology to explore interdisciplinary areas and to develop fresh approaches to the study of complex problems.

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