From May 26-29, Robert Lamb of the Witman Lab presented on his conservation work in Ecuador at the Rufford Small Grants Conference, which took place at the Centro de Investigación Marina de Quintay (CIMARQ). The conference was a huge success, thanks to the tireless efforts of our hosts and the conference organizers at Costa Humboldt. Attended by conservation scientists and ecologists from all over Latin America, we discussed the challenges and rewards, successes and failures of our various projects. These ranged from interpreting the social connotations of humpback whale songs, to cataloguing arthropod and reptile diversity in small national parks, to working with local communities in the Brazilian Amazon to improve brazil-nut harvests for forest protection. See the conference highlights video here.
A personal reflection on what it means to dive Cashes Ledge, Jewel of the Gulf of Maine, from the Witman Lab's Robert Lamb
The dive team from left: Robert Lamb, Lu Lamar, Jon Witman, Brett Seymour, and Evan Kovacs
In honor of world oceans day, here's an update on our work to describe and preserve the unique marine habitat and wildlife on Cashes Ldege. Today the Witman lab is taking a breather onshore after 3 intense days of diving on Cashes Ledge and Star Island in the Gulf of Maine. Led by Professor Jon Witman of Brown University, a team of divers from Brown, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, University of New Hampshire, and the National Parks Service are working to describe the incredible marine life that abounds at Cashes Ledge, a submerged ridge in the Northwest Atlantic (click here for more information). We have the good fortune to work with a crack filming/photography team, including Luis Lamar, Evan Kovacs, and Brett Seymour.
We were awed by the presence of minke whales and basking sharks at the surface in between dives, here 70 miles off the coast of Portsmouth, NH.
Underwater, the kelp forests of Ammen Rock were lush and full of fish! Cod and pollack were schooling all around as we recorded abundances and sizes that far surpassed last year's record numbers.
Like last year, the kelp biomass on Cashes Ledge is unbelievable. 5kg and 30-80 plants per square meter! To gain an appreciation for just how breathtaking the habitat these kelp create truly is, check out Lu Lamar's beautiful video of kelp swaying in the current.
This truly is the jewel of the Gulf of Maine. Stay tuned to the Witman Lab and Conservation Law Foundation as we wait for the seas to calm down so we can get back out on the water.
Follow the Witman Lab's adventures, on land and at sea @witmanlab on Instagram and Twitter!