Rutledge Marine Laboratory Manual

2010 Edition


Welcome to the Marine Lab! Since 1971, the Rutledge Marine Lab has provided an exceptional opportunity for conferees, day-trippers, and Island employees to learn about the unique natural history of Star Island and the Isles of Shoals in general.

Naturalists come from a variety of backgrounds, so this document was started in 2003 as an introduction to the Marine Lab. This manual is a work in progress. While there are some printed copies, there are also copies of each year’s handbook on the lab computer. The most current version should be updated and expanded as the season unfolds. There are several documents in the folder labeled Reports and Letters that should also be updated. At the end of each season a list of all species kept in the lab and released must be submitted to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. This submission is required under the stipulations of our permit to possess organisms for educational purposes. Good luck and have a great season!

==Star Island Facts==


42.9833°N, 70.6083°W or (42.9833, -70.6083) position of stone cottages


  • Star

Island is approximately 40 acres

  • Appledore is largest at 90 acres
  • All nine islands total approximately 205 acres
  • Star is 1800 feet E-W and 2000 feet N-S
  • Highest point is 54 feet above mean high water

===Distance to Gosport Harbor:===

  • 10 miles from Burge dock, Portsmouth NH
  • 7 miles from Whaleback Light, Kittery ME (mouth of Piscataqua River)

For more informationEdit

Read “10 Miles Out” and “Something Like A Star” for pertinent facts and a good history of Star Island and the Isles of Shoals. Books are available in the lobby bookstore.

==The Early Days of the Rutledge Marine Lab==

Kristen Simard, 2006

During the summers from 1965 to 1971, Star Island was home to a marine research facility utilized by Cornell graduate students. In a makeshift marine lab in Lawrence Hall, these students conducted their own research, which was shared with conferees during free time. However, in the early 1970’s, John Kingsbury initiated a Cornell-University of New Hampshire cooperative agreement and opened a marine laboratory for graduate student education on Appledore Island, just across the harbor. At that time, a group of conferees decided that Star Island needed its own marine lab, not for research, but to introduce conferees to the unique environment surrounding them on the island. Lyman Rutledge and his family donated the funds to build this lab, which was dedicated to the education and enjoyment of conferees.

Dominique Grotta built the Rutledge Marine Lab, not only constructing a cement floor with drains to support sea tables, but also a large tank incorporating the island’s granite bedrock. The lab also included a freshwater sink and top and bottom cabinets that remain even today. While marine showcases are notoriously difficult to build and maintain on the coastal mainland, this facility was feasible, even for an island on a budget, because of the island’s existing salt water toilet system. Cornell donated the sea tables that had been used in Lawrence, and books and dissecting microscopes were donated from various sources. Brian Rivest, a Cornell undergraduate student of John Kingsbury, was naturalist the first summer the Rutledge Marine Lab was in operation, and Meg McVey was assistant naturalist. Despite the generosity that enabled the creation of a marine lab, Brian and Meg were starting from scratch. Meg remembers that when Lyman Rutledge was brought in to see the lab for the very first time someone was still working on hooking up freshwater to the sinks, and there were no exhibits. That first summer Brian and Meg created the original exhibits for the lab. Together they developed pictures of common fish specimens to pin behind the in-ground tank, and also displayed standard charts of fish species and the marine intertidal zone. Meg McVey’s father contributed panels with photographs of common Star Island wild flowers to display. Over the last thirty or so years, many of these exhibits have been lost or degraded. However, some exhibits from those very first years still remain intact in the marine lab. These include “windowbox” displays that Brian and Meg designed to exhibit a basket star skeleton, horseshoe crabs, and a variety of shells. The tanks have long been the biggest attraction at the Rutledge Marine Lab; it is here that some have the opportunity to see a world they would not otherwise be exposed to. Brian and Meg worked with Cornell divers, lobstermen, and fishermen to find fish for the in-ground tank; Brian and Jim Smith were also divers and key collectors. Eel pout, flounder, lobsters, goosefish, sea ravens, cunner, lump fish, pollack, and squid were common specimens. Hermit crabs, scallops, sea stars, sponges, sea anemones, moon snails, sand dollars, sea urchins, and polycheates were also collected for the top sea tables where people could easily get a look at specimens. Small lobsters, crabs, and mussels (fed to the fish) were kept in the lower sea tables. Smaller tanks were used to display small creatures and fish such as sticklebacks or mummichugs. More unusual sea creatures had to be displayed more creatively: soft corals, clown jellyfish and nudibranchs were placed in side-view, custom-made Plexiglas boxes; large jellyfish were kept in a floating bucket within the in-ground tank; and shark embryos with yolk sacs still attached were placed in long, clear osmosis tubes attached to a water inlet on one of the sea tables to maintain a constant flow of water. As naturalists at the Rutledge Marine Lab still do, Meg and other early naturalists offered weekly low tide, geology, bird, and botany walks. The presentation and some of the content of these walks changes from naturalist to naturalist, but the idea of each has remained largely the same.

Low Tide: The “marine gardens” of Star Island offer one of the best examples of zonation patterns of the intertidal zone here on island, and this is where Meg (and countless naturalists since) conducted her low tide walks. Meg recalls that in the 1970’s, pollution and collection began to noticeably affect Star Island’s marine gardens, and she found it increasingly difficult to find specimens in the area.

Geology: The geology of the island has changed little since the 1970’s when the lab was first built. Al Doolittle, who attended conferences until he passed away in 2008, showed Meg the ropes.

Birds: Meg infused her bird walks with animal behavior considerations, and tended to offer these more frequently earlier in the summer when birds were breeding in full force.

Botany: Howard Lightfoot, who taught Erica Bickford and I the flowers of Star Island early in the summer of 2004, first instructed Meg in the identification of common island plants.

Meg and Brian also offered evening activities, such as slideshows: Brian Rivest developed a slideshow on nudibranchs and Meg developed a slideshow on barn swallows. When Al Doolittle was on island he conducted astronomy nights, and other visitors often offered their own slideshows. A few times throughout the summer, naturalists also conducted plankton tows at night, a trip to Smuttynose, a trip to Appledore, and a boat trip to tour the islands.

As they are today, children’s activities were an important focus of early naturalists. Each of the kids groups in the family conferences visited the lab. During the hour-and-a-half they spent there, kids would engage in age-appropriate discussion and hands-on activities with animals in the upper sea tables. The challenge then, as it remains today, was to tailor activities to the age group involved. While activities today focus on a number of topics particular to being a part of the Star Island and ocean environment, classes were originally focused entirely on the marine environment. While these programs can be frustrating, they can be just as equally gratifying. Kids are enthusiastic. Kids want to learn. They want to explore, so encourage them. Ask them questions. Let them be excited. Let adults be excited. Let everybody be excited. Star Island and the Isles of Shoals are unique environments, but not everybody sees this. Open people’s eyes. Engage people. Expose people. Since the 1970’s the Rutledge Marine Lab has provided the opportunity to do so. As naturalists we are the liaison between visitors and the natural world. We are here to open the doors of exploration and discovery essential to better understanding and respecting life on this small island, in the ocean that laps at our shore, and in the greater world around us. So keep the doors open. Based on The Early Days by Margaret (Meg) McVey, PhD, August 2005 For more information about the origin of the Rutledge Marine Lab, see the book “Something Like a Star” by Fred and Ginny McGill. Their Chapter 25, “Star Rediscovers the Ocean,” is all about the days when the Rutledge Marine Lab and SML started.


Since 1971 the Rutledge Marine Lab has provided an opportunity for Star Island conferees and visitors to discover, learn about, and explore the marine environment and natural history of Star Island and the Isles of Shoals. It is the mission of the Rutledge Marine Lab to foster a greater appreciation of the fragile ecosystem of the islands, the beauty and harmony of Star Island’s ocean environment, and the web of existence of which we are all a part. This is accomplished by providing the following:

  • Activities and exhibits to enhance the Star Island conference experience
  • Programs and services that are free-of-charge for children and adults
  • Access to information about the environment of the Gulf of Maine
  • Public education and “citizen science” research on a drop-in basis
  • Connections to similar organizations in and around Portsmouth, NH

Given the Marine Lab’s location on the shoreline of Gosport Harbor within the Gulf of Maine, lab activities and facilities emphasize the following topics:

Marine environment

  • ecology (island and coastal habitats)
  • birds (including gulls)
  • animal behavior

Marine biology

  • intertidal zone
  • underwater species (including algae)
  • Gosport Harbor and the Gulf of Maine

Natural sciences

  • plants (botany)
  • insects and reptiles

Physical sciences

  • oceanography (tides, currents)
  • meteorology (weather)
  • geology

This mission is a working draft from the Rutledge Marine Lab (RML) advisory committee 2006, edited in the summer of 2006.


The Naturalists are responsible for the following:

  • Opening and closing the Marine Lab and the tanks;
  • Arranging a schedule of volunteers for the summer;
  • Orienting volunteers and giving any necessary training;
  • Preparing exhibits and collecting specimens for the tanks;
  • Conducting walks and activities for adults and children;
  • Maintaining Lab equipment and improving Lab exhibits;
  • Maintaining the facility with the Island maintenance staff;
  • Providing knowledge about the natural history of Star Island;
  • Following all rules as set by our Fish and Wildlife permit, including submitting a yearly listing of organisms kept and released.

Other sections of this handbook have information on how to manage these responsibilities.

Coordinating Activities and VolunteersEdit

Nature walks and youth activities are scheduled at the conference chair meeting. This meeting is usually on Saturday mornings before the rest of the conference arrives. The naturalist attends these to explain what the marine lab is all about, finalize walk times, and arrange a time to meet with the children’s group leaders (if they are not there). It is good to arrive prepared to these meetings: pen and paper for notes, name tag and low tide chart to schedule low tide walk. There is an optional handout in this manual that could be passed out at these meetings. However, this is not necessary. Prescheduled, set times are now offered for nature walks. If any of these times do not work for the conference, they should be rescheduled at this meeting.

Naturalists are also responsible for arranging a volunteer schedule. Volunteers must commit to at least one week of service. However, it is highly suggested that naturalists accommodate volunteers who can stay as long as possible. In recent years the naturalists and some members of the marine lab committees have suggested the marine lab develop an internship program. This would allow someone to work in the lab for an extended time (one to two months or all summer), without the need to train a new worker frequently. This would increase productivity and efficiency without any additional cost to the corporation. Some work has been started on an internship proposal in recent years. This project should be continued. Please find information regarding volunteers and internship ideas in recent End of Season Reports and in the folder labeled, Volunteers.


Naturalists prepare and lead four weekly nature walks for 1-30 conferees. Nature walks generally include a bird walk, geology walk, low tide walk and botany walk. In 2009, Ainsley began narrating a seal watch after the Appledore tours offered by the Island Historian. As previously mentioned the times of these walks are scheduled at the Conference Chair meeting. The low tide walk can occur at certain times only, so bring a copy of the tide chart for the appropriate month with you to the meeting. Bird walks must be at 6 o’clock in the morning, so as to catch the birds before they are stirred by the bustle of the island.

In 2010 the preset walk schedule (which was subject to change, if needed) was as follows: Bird walks were scheduled at 6:00 A.M. on Sunday, geology walks were at 2:00 P.M. on Tuesday, Botany walks were at 2:00 P.M. on Thursday and low tide walk times varied each week depending on conference and low tide schedules. This schedule generally worked well; however, there were a few issues. Conferees who planned on birding throughout the week appreciated a Sunday bird walk to start them off. However, others found they were not aware of the bird walk because it came so early in the schedule. This resulted in frequent additions of other bird walks throughout the week to accommodate those who missed the first one. Thus, bird walks could be offered on Monday or Tuesday mornings instead. This time would be early enough in the week to aid the serious birders and accommodate those who might miss an earlier scheduled walk. Another consideration for future walk schedules could be to plan two walks on some days to allow for more flexibility throughout the week.

Information on preparing these walks is included in this handbook and in many other related documents within the marine lab folder an around the lab.

Programs for ChildrenEdit

Most conferences with many children have organized children’s programs; the island naturalist works with the coordinators of these programs to provide suitable activities for groups visiting the lab. During family conferences a group is usually scheduled in the morning and afternoon of each weekday. It is important that someone is always in the lab (when open). Therefore, care should be taken when determining hours of operation and while scheduling walks and children’s programs.

In 2003 a list of activities offered for specific age groups was compiled. These were placed in a folder (Marine Children’s Offerings) along with a sign-up sheet. This folder was given to group leaders during the children’s program on Saturday; group leaders signed up for an activity and then returned the sheet, allowing for week-long scheduling and preparation time.

Erica and Kristen amended this sign-up system during 2005. During the previous season groups would often sign-up and never show or would have problems picking suitable activities. Thus, we started providing a revised sign-up sheet and communicating with group leaders via the “message board” in the lobby. This seemed to work out well because we worked more closely with group leaders, picked activities that were better suited for groups, and ensured that groups showed up for activities.

In 2006, children’s programs were further organized. A “curriculum” was created for each of four topics: locomotion, food chain, becoming a scientist, and the environment of Star Island. Activities were compiled for each and collected in a binder. A smaller binder included a sign-up sheet and descriptions of activities for each curriculum. As in the summer of 2005, this was left with staff at the children’s meetings, and we further communicated with group leaders through the “Message Board” in the lobby. This is only a start at better organized and developed children’s activities. Other topics, such as marine biology or oceanography, should be developed. There is also more information and more activities in the purple filing crate next to the bookshelf. Please use any helpful materials, or materials from other useful sources, to further enhance the marine lab children’s programs.

In 2008, Katie Martell found that most group leaders never chose an activity, even when they were given the activity list well in advance. For most groups, she showed the children the larger animals in the touch tanks, like lobsters, rock crabs, large hermit crabs, large green crabs etc. Then she allowed them to spend a good amount of time at the touch tanks, exploring the hermit crabs, sea stars (mostly small ones because she never did find any large sea stars), and baby lobsters. She was also fortunate enough to have a moon snail, tons of nudibranchs, and skeleton shrimp. We would also feed the anemones pieces of mussel, which the kids loved. If you find a sand dollar, make sure you show it to kids, explain how it can bury itself, and then return to it in ten minutes to see the progress it has made.

She would have liked to take a more educational approach to activities, but at times felt that seeing and touching the specimens teaches children the most. Samantha Scolamiero suggested creating some sort of activity, or way to ensure that children make the connection that everything in the marine came from the ocean right outside.

In 2009, Ainsley Smith was also pretty informal about programs, mainly because the kids don’t want to sit through a lesson plan, they want to touch things and get dirty. Things that worked: fish feeding, planting seeds in soda bottle pots, bailing out the pothole to see how deep it is, snake hunting, reading “A House for Hermit Crab” and bringing out dishes of the animals (hermit crab, anemone, sea stars etc.), looking for monarch caterpillars in August.

In 2010, both informal and structured programs were offered, depending on conference needs. Generally children were allowed to explore the lab while having unique organisms or facts pointed out to them. A little bit of time was used at the beginning of each group session to run through the rules of the lab and introduce particularly exciting critters. More structured activities were offered after lab exploration if there was extra time or upon request. Some activities offered were critter collecting at the beach, short walks to check out the glacial pothole, snacks from the sea or mini in-lab scavenger hunts. During these scavenger hunts images of lab species were presented and children were asked to identify and locate them, and/or list an interesting characteristic of that organism. Feeding fish flakes to the animals in the larger tank (in 2010 we had many Pollack), feeding the anemones bits of mussels or giving the sculpins crabs, always worked in getting the kids really excited and involved. For some of the younger groups story time was offered as a closing activity.

Some ideas for children’s activities are included in the Marine Lab Children’s Programs binder. Other activities are in the filing cabinet in the lab and in the marine lab folder on the computer. More activities can and should be added if the demand is there or if you feel like you can add something valuable. Or, try something new and see if it works!

Lab Visiting HoursEdit

Naturalists must provide an adequate schedule of regularly maintained hours during which the Lab is open to informal visitors. It should be made clear to each conference that these hours can be modified as needed. In general, new lab hours are determined by the naturalist each season based on staffing and the needs of the conferences.

In 2007, the lab hours were 8:30-12:30 and 1:30-4:00. To allow both the naturalist and the volunteer to eat in Pel Hall, we switched off days with one person getting a plate of food at 11:30, coming back to the lab with it and closing at 12:30. The other person would leave whenever the first one came back with their food, and both would return at 1:30 to re-open. In 2008, the lab hours were 8:00am-4:00pm. We were never extremely busy during conferee lunch time, but we had a fair amount of boaters come into the lab between 12:30pm and 1:30pm. This was a great opportunity to show people who have never been to Star Island before that we have a great deal to offer from a Natural History perspective. Most people who meandered in for a look would stay for at least half an hour, and marvel that they “had no idea this was here!” The way I handled lunch with the volunteers was that I would leave the lab at 11:30am and eat in Pel Hall, then come back and relieve the volunteer at 12:30pm so they could eat with the conferees. Conferences never seemed to mind sharing their lunch with the volunteer, because they understood that it was in order to provide them with a better experience (This should be mentioned in the meeting with the chairs at the beginning of each week). Ainsley Smith volunteered for three weeks, and also wanted to enjoy lunch with the pels, so we had an alternating schedule where I would eat with the pels one day, the conference the next, etc. This also worked out really well, and some volunteers prefer to eat with the conference anyway!

Ainsley kept this up in 2009 – as long as there was a volunteer, she switched off eating with pels or the conference. The 8am-4pm hours worked well, and boat traffic has increased, along with day visitors from the Laighton.

In 2010, the lab was opened from 8:30-4:00. This schedule provided a little bit of time in the morning to read emails and prepare for the day. This schedule also allowed time to accomplish more focused tasks after 4:00, before dinner. As in 2009, lunches were rotated with volunteers, based on needs that week. It always seemed to work out. Generally everyone was flexible and the lab was open throughout both lunches. Day visitors continued to stop by throughout both lunches.

Records and OrganizationEdit

Although it isn’t an obvious duty of the naturalist, keeping organized and up-to-date records of various things in the lab is essential for efficient and accurate running and maintenance of the lab. Well-kept records cut down on the amount of time that goes into a purchase order, prevent the loss of lab equipment and books, and prolongs the life of lab equipment.

The most important job in this category is updating the lab manual. As you work throughout the season, you will inevitably discover ways to improve the way the lab runs, or you’ll replace or repair equipment. This manual is a living document that should change each year. Remove any information that is no longer relevant, and add what you feel is necessary.

Another important point to remember with record-keeping is ensuring that work that has already been done is accessible and understandable. Please make sure that when saving things on the computer, files are labeled consistently and specifically, and are filed well. So much important work is lost for years because its file name is meaningless to anyone but the creator. Please also make sure that all files are saved in folders within “Marine Lab”, which should ultimately be saved on the I-drive or g-drive. In the event of this computer crashing, documents saved to an external drive will not be lost.

Three new databases were created in 2007 (all saved under “records and databases”) which should also be maintained. The first is the library catalogue, which uses the Access program. As you add new books to the library, please add them to the database. Please also print out new little blue labels (also saved under “records and databases”), both so the bookshelf can stay organized, and to keep track of books that have left the lab (many have been lost over the years).

The second is the equipment/supplies database (also using Access). The hope is that over time this database will cut down on ordering time (i.e. check this before you order anything, and add to it when you order something new), and also allow proper care and use of expensive lab equipment. Feel free to edit these databases as you see fit.

Finally is the repairs log (a word document), which is where any repairs or installations should be recorded. The hope is that this database will allow better communication from year to year about work done in the lab. Because we have such a high turnover rate, important information is quickly lost. Please try to use this log for any work done in the lab. Future labbies will thank you.

In 2010 a database for Star Island Plants was started (but was not completed) and was filed within the Rare Plant labeling Project Folder. This folder also contains a Google Earth document that maps the locations of rare plants found on Star Island in 2010 and other documents that list Star Island plants that are rare within New Hampshire and those rare only on Star Island. Three state identified rare species were marked and labeled in 2010. These labels should be relocated using the Google Earth map document and the incomplete Excel document titled, Labeling Project. Once these plants are found, worn off labels should be replaced and markers should be maintained to prevent mowing or removal of these rare species.

When you first arrive in the lab, make sure you look through all the files because there is a TON of useful information.

Island EnvironmentEdit

Report to the General Manager any matters of concern regarding the condition of the natural environment on Star Island. Make recommendations, when appropriate, about regulations for protecting the flora and fauna of the Island. Remind the conference center director to add a slide to the Fire and Water orientation about how marine mammals are protected and people should not touch or try to feed them.

In 2008, Katie made signs for the areas on island where milkweed grows. They were “monarch protection zones.” You can find the sign in the signs folder in the marine lab folder of I-Drive. The signs were made to inform conferees that the lack of landscaping in these areas wasn’t a lack of effort on truck crew’s part, but a concerted effort to protect the milkweed (Monarch caterpillars will only eat milkweed). Put these up at first sign of milkweed so they don’t get cut down! Common areas are near the flagpole, near the tennis court and the bushes

Please continue to develop the Rare Plant Labeling Project. Ideally, all rare plants will be marked and mapped. This map can then be given to those in charge of grounds on the island to ensure that these species are not accidentally removed or mowed. The markers can be left out over winter, but they should be replaced in the spring if needed. We have small aluminum signs, and label tape to create more markers if needed. In 2010 three colors of tape were purchased to differentiate rare species within New Hampshire, rare species on Star Island and common species. The red duct tape was used for state rare species (Rumex Pallidus was not yet marked). The orange and yellow colors were not yet placed around the island to mark rare island species and common species. Please contact Callen Miracle or Jean Stefanik as resources for continuing this project.

Contact InformationEdit

Arsenault, Michele 646 541-9762

Educator. Wrote Geology on a Star – a children’s geology curriculum. This sample "curriculum" was designed and written while participating in an on-line science class for teachers provided by the American Museum of Natural History, NYC. While it only provides one actual "lesson," a lengthy geological survey of the Isles of Shoals is included. This project was conducted while on the island itself during one summer stay. Michele continues to work with children doing hands-on science and homeschool programs (trained at Bank Street College, elementary education/museum education) and welcomes inquires about her approach and curriculum development.

Bob at Coastal Discoveries 978-915-6160

Bob has a charter company, and runs camp programs during the summer. He can bring things like skates, flounder, scallops.

Connell, Keper 603-498-7577

Coyer, Jim

Instructor of Underwater Research at SML (as of 2003) Contact for organism questions; also, specimen or diving requests for 2nd two weeks in July

Brewitt, Mark and Debbie 603-772-6668

Employees of UNH r/v Gulf Challenger; divers

Engstrom, Steve

Aquarist at Seacoast Science Center.

Email with any questions about skates and how to feed them.

Foyes 207-748-3161

Residents of Cedar Island (adjacent); lobster fishermen; aid in specimen collecting.

Although George Foye no longer lobsters, his son does.

Frye, Bob 978-502-9269

978-502-9269 (cell)

Contractor; conferee; summer frequenter of Star; aids in specimen collecting through diving; boat owner

Kenney, Rob 603-926-9350

603-944-0196 (cell)

233 High St., Hampton, NH 03842

Owner of “Captain Rob’s Dive Charters”; friend of Jean Stefanik

Lightfoot, Howard (Deceased) P.O. Box 127

Contocook, NH 03229

Old Shoaler; compiled

Howard’s Flowers: Star Island wildflowers

Nichols, Bill

Botanist/ecologist with NH Natural Heritage Bureau. Published Ecological Inventory of Star Island, New Hampshire. Conducting ecological inventory of Star Island and collecting plant specimens with the help of Virginia Nichols (mother). If he comes to the island at all, walk around with him and have him point plants out to you.

(603) 553.3349 (work cell),

Qiumby, Kipp Lab prep for Shoals Marine Lab. Huge help in bringing over extra specimen, also great resource for questions about their care.

Schoman, Ken 207-439-0599

Lives on Gerrish Island, Kittery Point, ME; chair of SIC Marine Lab Committee

Stefanik, Jean 603-647-1036

603-261-6993 (cell)

285 Beaver St., Manchester, NH 03104

Educator; helps to support the Lab; collect specimens through diving and snorkeling; member of SIC Marine Lab Committee; Volunteer

Steingart, Carol 138 Sisquisic Dr.

Yarmouth, ME 04096

(207) 846-5130

Created Intertidal ID Chart -- can purchase from Carol directly, or from Shoals Marine Lab.

Suomala, Becky

Conducted Star Island bird banding study in 1999 and 2000. Published thesis: Migrant Songbird Species Distribution, Behavior, and Habitat Use During Stopover: A comparison of two islands in the Gulf of Maine.

Whitall, Jennifer 603-431-8410 ext. 617 (work)

Employee of Erie Scientific / Fisher Scientific (Portsmouth); UCC II conferee; donated microscope slides, pipettes, anti-microbial hand soap, and more


Star Island (Lobby/Cottage D) 603-964-7252

603-964-7224 (fax)

Star Island Corporation 603-431-6272

Morton-Benedict House, 30 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Shoals Marine Lab 603-964-9011

… Island Office 603-494-4143 (cell)

SML Ithaca Office 607-255-3851



Recent Island NaturalistsEdit

Taylor, Jeremy Island Naturalist, 2002

Blume, Emily Island Naturalist, 2003

(603) 661-8172

McKenney, Erik Assistant Naturalist, 2003

(607) 339-7850

Bickford, Erica Island Naturalist, 2004 – 2005

77 Chauncey Creek Rd.

Kittery Point, ME 03905

(207) 475-6837

Simard, Kristen Assistant Naturalist, 2004 – 2005

1 Richard Ct. Naturalist, 2006

Raymond, NH 03077

(603) 494-5517 O’Neil, Robin Assistant Naturalist, 2006

602 Winchester

Richardson, TX 75080


Smith, Ainsley Volunteer, 2009; Naturalist, 2009


Miracle, Callen Island Naturalist, 2010


==Rutledge Marine Laboratory: General Information==

This can optionally be printed and handed out at chairs’ meetings.

Your name

Island Naturalists

Hours: The lab is open Sunday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm (closed during lunch only on our days off). Please encourage conferees to come by to browse our exhibits and displays, ask questions, explore, and enjoy! Island Walks: The lab offers four nature walks that are scheduled throughout the week for the convenience of conferees. These walks are usually set during the first Star Island Management/Conference Chair(s) meeting before the conference begins. Nature walks focus on geology, birds, botany, and low tide. While we can be quite flexible with the times and dates of these tours, bird walks are conducted at 6:00 am and low tide walks begin half an hour before low tide on the desired day. Kids: The littlest conferees can come by the lab at any time to hang out in our kids’ corner, which features age-appropriate experiments, coloring books, reading materials and more! Children also enjoy our display tanks where they can get up close and personal with sea creatures of all varieties. We are also happy to arrange children’s programs/workshops for children’s groups. These programs can also be scheduled during the Star Island management/conference chair(s) meeting. Loans: We are happy to let conferees borrow library materials, snorkeling equipment, fishing poles, buckets, nets, and wet suits at any time during the conference provided that supplies are signed out and promptly returned. Research: The lab features a collection of materials and resources to help answer questions and satisfy curiosities about marine science, Star Island, the natural history of the Isles of Shoals, etc. Collecting: We welcome any and all additions to our ever-growing marine science collection. Conferees are encouraged to bring in any interesting specimens they might find around the island.

Night Crew Marine Lab ChecklistEdit

Check at least twice nightly: 1. Outside tank for inflow/overflow problems.

· Make sure the inflow is at a moderate rate (it should be disturbing the sand slightly). If not, turn the black knob on the right of the tank.</p> <p style="margin-left:0in;text-indent:0in;mso-list:l8 level1 lfo10; tab-stops:list .5in">· If the tank is overflowing (usually on the left), please open the tank and make sure the outflow pipes on the left are not clogged with algae. You can just use your finger to scrape it away, and the outflow should increase.</p> <p style="margin-left:0in;text-indent:0in;mso-list:l8 level1 lfo10; tab-stops:list .5in">· Do not turn down the inflow to stop an overflow. The animals need fresh oxygenated water to survive.</p> 2. Small touch tanks (the fiberglass water tables) for inflow and overflow. <p style="margin-left:0in;text-indent:0in;mso-list:l6 level1 lfo11; tab-stops:list .5in">· There should be a steady, light flow coming out of the clear tubes (not gushing or trickling). Turn the black/white knobs to adjust this.</p> <p style="margin-left:0in;text-indent:0in;mso-list:l6 level1 lfo11; tab-stops:list .5in">· Algae may clog the drain on the 1st top touch tank. Clear it away from the white drain cover to stop an overflow.</p> 3. 300-gallon glass tank inside for inflow/siphon problems. <p style="margin-left:0in;text-indent:0in;mso-list:l12 level1 lfo12; tab-stops:list .5in">· The inflow comes from the small white pipe above the tank, which you can see for proper inflow (should be moderate, the wave bucket tips 3-4 times a minute). It may need to be turned up slightly.</p> <p style="margin-left:0in;text-indent:0in;mso-list:l12 level1 lfo12; tab-stops:list .5in">· If the water level is above the bottom of the bucket, or if the tank is overflowing, the siphon needs to be restarted.</p> <p style="margin-left:0in;text-indent:0in;mso-list:l12 level1 lfo12; tab-stops:list .5in">· To restart the siphon, take the PVC pipe on the right out of the tank, then re-submerge both ends to fill it with water. Cupping your hand over the shorter end, place it into the water in the upside-down water jug to the right of the tank. When you remove your hand, the siphon should start. You can check whether it worked by feeling the outflow of water from the bottom grey pipe underneath the siphon.</p> 4. 1000-gallon in-ground tank for inflow / leakage problems <p style="margin-left:0in;text-indent:0in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo13; tab-stops:list .5in">· The tank should have a constant steady inflow from the white pipe along the side of the tank, which is controlled with the red valve directly above the pipe (I don’t expect you to crawl out there, but just in case!)</p> <p style="margin-left:0in;text-indent:0in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo13; tab-stops:list .5in">· The outflow is through the white PVC pipe near the glass tank. This shouldn’t have any problems (it drips a bit, but this is OK)</p> <p style="margin-left:0in;text-indent:0in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo13; tab-stops:list .5in">· If the road outside the lab is flooding with water, this is a leak from the large tank. Depending on how much water is leaking, an engineer should be called to take a look.</p> 5. Please wake me up if: <p style="margin-left:0in;text-indent:0in;mso-list:l11 level1 lfo14; tab-stops:list .5in">· The saltwater is (or will be) turned off for a period of time longer than 45 minutes.</p> <p style="margin-left:0in;text-indent:0in;mso-list:l11 level1 lfo14; tab-stops:list .5in">· Any of the tanks springs a serious leak such that organisms must be transferred to another tank</p> <p style="margin-left:0in;text-indent:0in;mso-list:l11 level1 lfo14; tab-stops:list .5in">· Any of the tanks are overflowing, the lab is flooding, and Night Crew is unable to remedy the problem.</p> <p style="margin-left:0in;text-indent:0in;mso-list:l11 level1 lfo14; tab-stops:list .5in">· Your Name and Room # here</p>

Open, Changeover, and CloseEdit

Opening the LabEdit

During open-up: take care of any big projects first (there should be a list from the previous season/close-up and relevant information in the End of Season Report). Then start setting up the lab. This includes: <p style="margin-left:57.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level1 lfo6; tab-stops:list 57.0pt">¨ Taking Inventory.</p>

<p style="margin-left:75.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level2 lfo6; tab-stops:list 75.0pt">o The letter from the previous year’s labbie should include a list of the most commonly used equipment in the lab (a more comprehensive list can be found in Access under Marine Lab Equipment Databases). Make sure everything is here (stuff gets swiped during close-up and open-up) and re-label anything that needs it so that it looks fresh for the season. It can be hard to look for things, especially if you don’t know a lot of people already. I would recommend making an announcement at a meal, noting the big things that are missing, and then possibly posting a list of smaller items</p> <p style="margin-left:57.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level1 lfo6; tab-stops:list 57.0pt">¨ Cleaning everything.</p>

<p style="margin-left:75.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level2 lfo6; tab-stops:list 75.0pt">o Rinse out tanks, wipe down shelves, clean windows, sweep floors. You may want to wait until you finish setting up exhibits to mop the floors because they will just get dirty and no conferees will see them until the first conference anyway.</p> <p style="margin-left:57.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level1 lfo6; tab-stops:list 57.0pt">¨ Making sure plumbing is in working order.</p>

<p style="margin-left:75.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level2 lfo6; tab-stops:list 75.0pt">o Salt water</p>

<p style="margin-left:111.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level3 lfo6; tab-stops:list 111.0pt">§ From toilet system. Once saltwater intake has been installed you should have saltwater. The valve for this is under A. Check with maintenance about turning the saltwater on (you can leave them a note at the Front Desk). Once you have water, refer to the tank maintenance portion of the manual for tank set-up info. </p>

<p style="margin-left:75.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level2 lfo6; tab-stops:list 75.0pt">o Drinking water</p>

<p style="margin-left:111.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level3 lfo6; tab-stops:list 111.0pt">§ Sink and spigot on deck. Valve behind founders; ask maintenance to turn on.</p>

<p style="margin-left:111.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level3 lfo6; tab-stops:list 111.0pt">§ You can put out hose onto deck by spigot and hang “Drinking Water Hose” sign next to spigot (found with other signs in filing cabinet, or saved on I-Drive under “signs”)</p>

<p style="margin-left:111.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level3 lfo6; tab-stops:list 111.0pt">§ Set out barrels or buckets labeled “Marine Lab” under spigot and fill partially so people can dunk their snorkel gear in fresh water before returning it</p> <p style="margin-left:57.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level1 lfo6; tab-stops:list 57.0pt">¨ Making sure the computer and internet are up and running. </p>

<p style="margin-left:75.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level2 lfo6; tab-stops:list 75.0pt">o Do this early, and make sure that IT knows it is a relatively high priority item, especially if you are arranging volunteers for the summer. This requires internet access and must be done early, so internet access is very important (although most of the volunteer schedule should be worked out before you get to the island)</p> <p style="margin-left:57.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level1 lfo6; tab-stops:list 57.0pt">¨ Setting up displays and posters. </p>

<p style="margin-left:75.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level2 lfo6; tab-stops:list 75.0pt">o Some should be clearly labeled and stored in the lab (others may be stored in the first closet in Brookfield)</p> <p style="margin-left:57.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l2 level1 lfo8; tab-stops:list 57.0pt">¨ Setting up the tanks.</p>

<p style="margin-left:75.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l2 level2 lfo8; tab-stops:list 75.0pt">o Before any organisms go in, set each tank up with a little habitat. Put a nice thick layer of sand (which you should collect in 5-gal buckets from the NO swimming beach, and get a garden cart or ask truck crew to bring them over) in the four sea-tables (touch/no touch tanks) and in the 300-gal outdoor tank if you wish. Get rocks and mussels with seaweed hanging on (as much as you can handle, bring buckets and a garden cart to the swimming beach!). These will have to be changed on a regular basis as the seaweed begins to rot a fairly quickly. See “Tank Maintenance” for more info on the different tanks and how they’re set up.</p>

<p style="margin-left:111.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l2 level3 lfo8; tab-stops:list 111.0pt">§ Two Outdoor Tanks</p>

<p style="margin-left:147.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l2 level4 lfo8; tab-stops:list 147.0pt">· There should some rocks on the porch next to the East facing door. Use them to put into the tank and at the end of the season, put them on the porch again. This saves lots of time and energy lugging them to and from the ocean.</p>

<p style="margin-left:75.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l2 level2 lfo8; tab-stops:list 75.0pt">o Put up signs. Explore the folders on the computer and in the filing cabinet labeled “signs” and/or make some of your own. There are a lot of signs for the touch tanks, for the snake terrarium, and to explain some of the fish (especially flounder). Katie didn’t go sign crazy because she felt that it made the lab look cluttered, but use your judgment on this one. You may want to create a few safety signs, for example one on general rules for the lab (like no running, especially on the concrete floor), and no sticking your little hands in the bottom tables because the lobsters will get ’cha! In 2009, I redid the touch tank rules to be 4 simple bullet points, which is much easier for children to understand. I used the snake signs when snakes were in the tank, and created an intertidal sign for the 300 gallon tank. I used some of the small ‘did you know’ facts around the base of the tank since most of those animals (hermit crab, barnacles, anemones) were in there.</p>

<p style="margin-left:75.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l2 level2 lfo8; tab-stops:list 75.0pt">o Collect critters. </p>

<p style="margin-left:111.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l2 level3 lfo8; tab-stops:list 111.0pt">§ The first thing you want is lots and lots of mussels. These are a food and habitat source for almost everything that will go into the tanks, and they are also relatively easy to come by. At the lowest tide you can wait for, go down to the water and look under seaweed on the sides of rocks for mussels. In 2008, Katie found that if you wait until exactly low tide (especially at a full or new moon when the low tide is at its lowest level), you can just collect mussels off of the bottom at the swimming beach, which saves you from having to dig under seaweed and from prying mussels off of large rocks. Bring a five gallon bucket and wear some water shoes or booties, and get ready to collect a ton of them. Katie could usually fill a large bucket ¾ full in ½ an hour by herself by doing this, which also means you don’t have to go collecting as often. A great spot is also past the summer house. There are a couple wonderful tide-pools there that always have lots of mussels. REMEMBER THE GOLDEN RULE OF COLLECTING: NEVER COLLECT MORE THAN HALF OF WHAT IS THERE. This ensures that populations will continue to thrive in the future. Try to collect from the tide pools only when the tide is not low enough to collect at the swimming beach, as I have noticed that the beach is repopulated more quickly. In 2009, the swimming beach population wasn’t as strong, so the summer house tide pools were used more often. Also look near the marine gardens, though it is a hike to carry them back. In 2010 the swimming beach continued to seem over picked, so the marine garden and summer house tide pools were used more often. Also bottom feeder pellets and flakes were supplemented to support the marine lab animals. This should be continued. It is the naturalists’ and everyone’s responsibility to act as a steward to the Islands’ environment. It is not sustainable to continuously take from natural habitats to support domestically held organisms. In 2010 mussels were only used to feed animals that would not eat purchased feed and to minimally supplement the diet of others.</p>

<p style="margin-left:111.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l2 level3 lfo8; tab-stops:list 111.0pt">§ For other organisms, if you can’t find enough yourself, start calling around for help. Appledore is a great source for invertebrates (be sure to follow up with them, they sometimes get busy). Also good is Bob’s Costal Discovreies - his number is 978-815-6160. Early in June, the Granite State runs science field trips and will let you have whatever they’ve caught, but Ainsley had to tracker out to the boat and talk to them before they left the harbor since they don’t come up to the dock. Call to get the schedule - 1-603-964-5545.</p>

<p style="margin-left:57.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level1 lfo6; tab-stops:list 57.0pt">¨ Acquainting yourself with the lab. </p>

<p style="margin-left:75.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level2 lfo6; tab-stops:list 75.0pt">o Explore cabinets and drawers. Read through books, manuals, and notebooks. Assess what you have to work with. (Also, the top shelf in the Brookfield closet belongs to the lab. It hasn’t really been used in years, but there are a bunch of old materials and displays that should, eventually, be sorted through.) Read the documents in the Marine Lab folder of the I-Drive. </p> <p style="margin-left:57.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level1 lfo6; tab-stops:list 57.0pt">¨ Contacting people listed in the manual. </p>

<p style="margin-left:75.0pt;text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l4 level2 lfo6; tab-stops:list 75.0pt">o Use the marine lab email for this. I would first talk to recent naturalists, Jean Stefanik (snorkeling/diving), people at the Shoals Marine Lab, and the aquarist at the Seacoast Science Center for help/advice on collecting specimens. It would also be good to establish a relationship with lobstermen who may bring you what they don’t want from their traps (In 2008, Katie wasn’t sure how to do this; however, there are a ton of lobster boats that go out of Pierce Island in Portsmouth, and you might try walking down there on a day off to start up some communication with them). I would also establish a friendly relationship with the Rutledge Marine Lab Advisory Committee: these people are trying to be as helpful for the lab as possible (Nick Mahoney, Jean Stefanik, and Lloyd Yanis are especially involved). Go through the contact list; this includes lots of helpful people and organizations.</p>


<p style="text-align:justify">As Saturday changeover activities can take the whole day, the Lab should be closed Saturdays. Labbies will work with either chamber or “cute” crew until lunch, then clean the lab in the afternoon. Cleaning the lab includes (but is not limited to) replacing any sea-weed that has begun to decompose (sea-weeds tend not to get enough sunlight to live long in the lab), scrubbing and cleaning the insides of the glass tanks and the 1,000-gal tank, cleaning windows, cleaning out the filters in the outflow system (one under the building and one next to the ramp at the side door), Murphying all the wood surfaces, sweeping and mopping the floors, and waxing the wood floor when necessary. The low-tide part of Saturday can be used for collecting, and the rest of the day (until meetings or luggage line) for cleaning and preparing for the new week. </p> <p style="text-align:justify">In 2008, Katie worked with cute-hops from 7:00am until 10:15am (time for meeting with chairs), and some days worked with them until a little later (perhaps until lunch at 12:00pm). After that, I would clean the lab, which takes a lot more time than you think it will! FYI I would move the benches, mats, and buckets onto the wood floor, sweep and mop the concrete first, then move everything back and sweep and mop the wood floor. Otherwise, you get all the really dirty dirt from the concrete on the wood floor. L Also try to keep the counter space as clean as possible. There is little space to store miscellaneous items, but keeping things organized will help you stay organized in the long run. To be honest, my counter was always a little messy. </p> <p style="text-align:justify">In 2009, Ainsley kept up this practice of working with conference services until just before 10:00 break, would gather my things for the meeting, and spend the afternoon working on the lab. There was usually time to help with luggage lines in the afternoon, and sometimes the incoming volunteer would help with cleaning, although I didn’t expect or demand that they did. </p> <p style="text-align:justify">In 2010, marine lab work was also continued after the morning chair meeting or after lunch.</p>

<p style="text-align:justify">Once a week, usually on Saturdays, the Lab needs to be cleaned and set up for the next conference. Here’s a checklist:</p> <p style="margin-left:57.0pt;text-align:justify;text-indent: -.25in;mso-list:l3 level1 lfo7;tab-stops:list 57.0pt">¨ Remove items from display shelves, wipe down shelves, and replace or re-arrange displays. Wipe down the tables and the chairs if kids have been standing on them. </p> <p style="margin-left:57.0pt;text-align:justify;text-indent: -.25in;mso-list:l3 level1 lfo7;tab-stops:list 57.0pt">¨ Clean the glass tanks, as they accumulate fingerprints. Wash windows if needed – use a solution of pink soap and water, a rag to wash, and a squeegee to wipe clean. </p> <p style="margin-left:57.0pt;text-align:justify;text-indent: -.25in;mso-list:l3 level1 lfo7;tab-stops:list 57.0pt">¨ Once all surfaces have been wiped down, stack chairs on top of tables along with anything else moveable on the floor. Sweep, mop with Reel-a-Peel, and wax the wood floor if needed. The wax helps the floor to look clean after the hundreds of people that have trampled through and the chairs that have been scraped across it. </p> <p style="margin-left:57.0pt;text-align:justify;text-indent: -.25in;mso-list:l3 level1 lfo7;tab-stops:list 57.0pt">¨ Sweep the cement part of the floor, and mop it with Reel-a-Peel. Buckets should be cleaned out with reel-a-peel, otherwise they’ll start to smell, just make sure you rinse them really well afterwards. Edges of tanks should be wiped off, also so they won’t smell. </p> <p style="margin-left:57.0pt;text-align:justify;text-indent: -.25in;mso-list:l3 level1 lfo7;tab-stops:list 57.0pt">¨ Clean out dead things from tanks, move things like sea stars and blood stars from touch tanks to “do not touch” and visa versa. Remove any seaweed that is starting to go bad, and replace with new seaweed. This is really important; if the lab smells, it is the seaweed, so get rid of it!</p> <p style="margin-left:57.0pt;text-align:justify;text-indent: -.25in;mso-list:l3 level1 lfo7;tab-stops:list 57.0pt">¨ Update the outside chalkboard with the times of next week’s walks, tides, weather, sun and moon rise and set, and lunar phase. Fill the bird feeders (we have a new bird feeder stand on the front porch!). Put out new coloring pages on the kids table (these are in a clear box labeled “coloring sheets” on the shelf above the sink). There is a photocopier in cottage D to make more coloring pages.</p>

  • Note: It is important that this happens once a week when the lab is closed. If the Lab is going to be open on Saturday, this should be done on Friday afternoon so the floors will have plenty of time to dry. Also, if it is rainy or particularly damp, the floors will take FOREVER to dry, so keep this in mind.

Closing the LabEdit

<p style="text-align:justify;mso-outline-level:1">At the end of the season:</p>

  • Return all animals as close to their original homes as possible. Try to do this early on! In 2008, Katie started to release specimens during LOAS II, and made it an activity for children’s groups.
  • Drain the tanks. Some tanks have drains; others (most) will need to be siphoned or pumped out.
  • Clean the tanks. Remove all substrates. The tanks should get a thorough scrubbing.
  • Return displays to their storage bins. Anything that can be put away should be put away. Clean the floors. Leave things orderly. Be kind to the next Labbies. J
  • Create close-up project list. This may include painting or re-finishing floors and tables, sealing or painting tanks, etc.
  • Update the lab manual.

<p style="text-align:justify;mso-outline-level:1">The laborious task is cleaning the tanks, which takes about three days. Here’s how to do it: </p>

  • First, drain the tanks or siphon them as low as possible. To make a siphon, take a tube from the Lab and fill it with water so there are no bubbles. Cap both ends with your fingers. Put one end in the water you want to siphon and the other end where you want to drain. Release the end in the water first, then the drain end. The sucking end must be higher than the draining end. This is tricky when the water level falls below the drain end of the tube and the tube loses siphon. When this happens to the bottom touch tanks, you can drain them onto the floor. Same for the side tank. With the outside tank, you can fill a small bucket with water. Start the siphon in there, holding the bucket higher than the drain end. Once you’ve got suction, push the drain end of the tube down the drainpipe. When it is low enough, submerge the bucket of water into the water in the tank, thus transferring the siphon to the tank.
  • Then, by carrying buckets to the float or swimming beach, remove all the dirt, shell, rock and algae that you can (garden cart!). Remember to leave the rocks from the 100 gallon outdoor tank on the porch for next year. The smell of detritus under the substrate will be horrendous. If you need a respirator to deal with the smell, they’re kept in the powerhouse and paint shed. No one will think less of you if you use one.
  • Once all the stuff is removed, refill the tanks to about half capacity with clean water. Just turn the pump back on and let them fill. Then, with the water still trickling in, start a siphon and suck up all the muck that didn’t come up when you were scooping. It’ll work like a vacuum cleaner and make your life easier. While you’re doing this, scrub all the bryozoans and hydroids that have grown on the inside of the tanks as well as the mussel threads – algae scrub pads are available, but you may need a razor or putty knife to do this. Then siphon out as much water as possible. Use a shop-vac to get the rest of the water out (you can also get this from the powerhouse).
  • The big tank is the worst. First, siphon or pump out as much water as possible. You can use a large fire hose to siphon most of the water out. Then, pull the plug in the bottom, if possible. Before you pull this plug, check with the Island Engineer to be sure this is acceptable because the drain goes under the Lab to a pipe that has no cap on it. After the tank’s drained, use the low-pressure fire hose outside the lab to flush out as much residual gross stuff as possible. This works really well; in 2008 it sped up the process immensely. The hose works to clean out all the grit that you may not be able to get out by shoveling. Then scoop, pump, or shop-vac all the water and extra sand out of the tank. We also used the ammonia that is not as harmful to marine life and is rinsed more easily than a traditional ammonia solution. This can be found under the sink, and is a clear bottle with a red label and several labels on it that say not to mix with bleach (also…do not mix it with bleach or other cleaners; this could be extremely dangerous!)
  • Also, make a list of projects that should be done during close-up and open-up sometime during the summer or end of season

Tank MaintenanceEdit

<p style="text-align:justify">The lab has several saltwater tanks: Two outdoor tanks (stored inside the lab over winter); a 300 gallon glass tank (inside side window); a 1000 gallon concrete tank built into the bedrock; and two pairs of sea tables (aka touch tanks) with a shallow 10 gallon table and a deeper 50 gallon table below.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">Several smaller aquariums are also available for multiple uses: one 15-gallon and one 30 gallon. The 30 gallon is great to keep snake specimens, and the 15-gal may be used as a place for hatching cocoons, or, as chance may dictate, as a “bird hospital.” If you find salamanders in the beginning of the summer, these should be kept in a separate terrarium from the snakes.</p>

<p style="text-align:justify">You can also find a 100 gallon glass tank inside (with a crack in it). This tank can no longer be used for marine organisms, but it can make a great terrarium. In 2010 one of the smaller tanks was used as a small garden and placed outside. It is not recommended that the 100 gallon be used as a garden, because the tanks needs to be emptied and stored inside at the end of each year.</p>

Saltwater in/outEdit

<p style="text-align:justify">Seawater contains 32-36.5 grams of salt per kg (ppt) in the open ocean. The ideal dissolved oxygen level is 6 ppm; 4 ppm is the absolute minimum. The Lab has a DO meter (which as of 2004, and 2008, we could not get to read properly). In 2010 there was no working DO meter in the lab. The Wastewater Treatment Plant has an expensive meter that they might let you use initially to make sure inflow is adequate.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">The lab is supplied with water from the island saltwater system. Before 2005 water was drawn from below the pier and held in two cistern tanks above the 4th floor. Saltwater remained in the tanks until used for toilets or the marine lab. With this system there were concerns about temperature and oxygen levels in the tanks. After the installation of R.O. machines for drinking water there were frequent problems with flow to the lab (and subsequent specimen death). </p> <p style="text-align:justify">Two pumps were purchased so the lab would have its own saltwater supply independent of the R.O. and toilets. However, in 2006 the island’s saltwater was converted from a gravity-fed system to a pressurized system, eliminating most water problems. Therefore, the installation of the new pumps for the marine lab was deemed unnecessary, but they are stored in the lab for back-up. This is not necessarily true anymore, because there were several problems with the island’s saltwater intake during the 2008 season. At times there was no water for over an hour, which did result in the death of some specimens (including the giant 9-lb., 40 year-old lobster).</p> <p style="text-align:justify">There were no major problems with water shut-off during the 2009 season, and there are many reasons as to why the pumps bought by the RML committee aren’t being used. It is being discussed if the lab’s salt water system could break off from the main system earlier, but that will require serious construction.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">The tanks drain into a new (2003) outflow system. The old system failed after 30 years, but could not be replaced because it was buried in concrete. The new outflow drains onto the rocks about 20 feet from the high tide line, directly in front of the Lab. The only downfall of this system is that all larval forms that get sucked up by the drainage system end up on the rocks, not in the water where they belong. You should make sure to clean the basket filters to the left side and under the front of the lab, because seaweed, crabs, and even small fish or jellyfish can become trapped in these and still be alive. Cleaning them regularly also helps the outflow to function properly.</p>

Saltwater tanksEdit

Small screen filters for the outflow of all tanks were cut and left on the touch tank table closest to the center of the lab. These screens should be used to cover all outflow pipes before tanks are set up. You can wrap them around outflow piping using basic rubber bands. <p style="text-align:justify">Two outdoor tanks: These tanks and all their plumbing are stored inside the lab over winter. The plumbing should be marked.. They are drained by holes close to their surface that are sealed into the glass. These drains can be easily clogged by vesicles of floating algae, periwinkles that crawl into the pipe and various other odds and ends. Ask maintenance about installing a protruding outflow pipe that can be covered by a screen in the larger of the two tanks. Maintenance will aid in setting up these tanks.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">300 gal glass tank: The outflow system for this tank consists of a u-shaped siphon that drains water into a holding container (these can be disconnected). In 2008, Katie took out the old PVC pipe and replaced this with a simple covering of Trical mesh netting. The netting can be cleaned quickly and easily, whereas the long pipe was often difficult to clean well. There is a whole role of the netting near the sink in the lab; it rocks. In 2009, the tank was turned into an intertidal tank, with a wave bucket underneath where the water comes out. The bucket sits on a metal rod, and there are weights to counter balance the bucket. You may need to make a new bucket if the old one is grimy/didn’t survive the winter. The metal rod should be replaced in 2011 with PVC that will not rust.</p>

<p style="text-align:justify">This system siphons water into a holding container that remains full and therefore (theoretically) never loses siphon. Water drains from this container by gravity. However, the siphon collects bubbles that eventually slow the draining process. Interruptions or changes in the water flow can also disrupt the siphon. Here’s how to fix it: Submerge both ends of the u-shaped siphon into the water of the glass tank until it feels heavy and is filled with water; keep the long end of the siphon in the tank, and while keeping the siphon under the water, cup your hand tightly under the opening of the short end. Then, carefully lower the short end of the siphon into the water in the plastic water jug to the right of the tank, all while keeping your hand cupped over the end. Then take your hand off the short end of the pipe, and the siphon should start immediately. This could take several tries, as it requires some strange contortions to make it happen. A kiddie chair is perfect to stand on in order to start the siphon. Once you get the hang of it, restarting the siphon becomes routine. Just make sure the inflow matches the amount that is being siphoned out (i.e. don’t turn the inflow up so that it’s bursting out of the pipe).</p> <p style="text-align:justify">Keep in mind that a sandy-bottom tank increases the risk of scratching the glass while cleaning the vertical glass. Rocks and bricks must be added for shelter, but be careful. The tank floor is glass, so don’t scratch the glass or the walls, and don’t drop the rocks. If your arms are long enough, you can just lower them in gently. Be careful not to use the seaweed on the rocks to lower them in, as the seaweed can break and the rock will drop swiftly to the bottom! To clean without a sandy bottom start a siphon and wedge it into the lowest open area in the tank. Make sure to put the Trical netting over the pipe (secure with rubber bands, cut corners of the netting to make it fit) so that you don’t vacuum up your specimens! Then clean off the netting every couple days. You don’t even have to take the siphon out or restart it to do this. This tank can be a little touchy before you get used to how much inflow there should be; the balance between inflow and outflow must be carefully maintained: you don’t want to overflow, but you don’t want to siphon out all the water. </p>

<p style="text-align:justify">1000 gal concrete tank: This tank was poured around a natural rock bottom. The outflow drains though a sluice in the corner of the wall. This tank is great for larger species that will require lots of space, it requires little maintenance, and is not affected by floating algae – just remove algae from the sluiceway as it gathers. Do not keep many periwinkles in this tank, as they will escape all over the floor and up the wall on the opposite side of the tank, which is hard to reach. In 2008, Katie increased surface disruption of the water by modifying the inflow. Maintenance put in a longer PVC pipe with holes drilled in it, so the inflow now extends along an entire side of the tank. You may notice some of the holes get filled with algae, so you will have to climb along the wall (can be scary) and unplug those holes with a nail or other small pointy object. Also make sure this tank has a regular strong flow; the more you can turn it up the better, but only until the point that the outflow can handle (or else it will leak all over the floor). This could be further modified and the pipe could be sunk a few inches under the surface of the water. This would make the lab quiet enough to hear fire alarms, and also add a current to the water. Water circulation would also be improved. Talk to Kipp at SML and maintenance about doing this during open-up.</p>

Tank Startup and CareEdit

<p style="text-align:justify;text-indent:.5in">During startup, be sure to run the tanks for at least 24 hours before gradually adding organisms. This will flush out rainwater, foul saltwater, impurities, dust and the cleaning solutions that inevitably remain in tanks after close-up. You can use the fire hose outside to rinse out the 1,000-gal tank if necessary. Glass cleaning solutions contain ammonia, which is toxic to marine animals. Other cleaning solutions contain chlorine, which inhibits gas exchange across gill structures. Do not get any cleaning solutions in or near the tanks, with the exception of the soap used on the outside windows. Be extremely careful not to get any of this soap, or any other cleaning solutions, in the tanks.</p>

<p style="text-align:justify;text-indent:.5in;mso-layout-grid-align: none;text-autospace:none">After the tanks are full it will be necessary to turn down the flow for two reasons. First, so the Lab does not use an excessive amount of water, and second, especially for the glass tanks, to keep the tanks from overflowing. As a general rule, do not turn valves on past halfway (45°). Remember that when the handle is in line with the pipe (0°), the valve is on. When the handle is perpendicular to the pipe (90°), the valve is off.</p>

<p style="text-align:justify;text-indent:.5in">The glass of the tanks will sweat and fog up, especially on hot and humid days. To alleviate this, squeegee the glass and then smear a generous helping of pink soap over the outer glass. This will not stop the sweating, but it serves as a wetting agent. It keeps the “sweat” from beading, so the glass will remain smooth and clear.</p>

<p style="text-indent:.5in">Baby mussels tend to clog the valves on the table tanks, restricting water flow. To clean, turn off water to those tanks, remove the hoses, and then use something to loosen the mussels. Brown algae will also start to cake the plastic tubing that is attached to the valves. To clean these, remove the tubes, then take a small piece of fabric and stick it on the end of a straightened coat hanger (or something similar). Then stick the coat hanger with the fabric on it right up the tube and move up and down briskly. The algae should come off easily, but be sure to rinse the fabric so that it will keep cleaning the other tubes efficiently. </p>

<p style="text-indent:.5in">Dissolved oxygen has been a recurring problem within the lab. In 2010, we discussed the possibility of installing an additional wave bucket in the 1,000 gallon tank. Also, unless seaweed is changed very regularly, rotting plants will end up decreasing dissolved oxygen as bacteria absorb oxygen for digestion.</p>

Outflow System DiagramsEdit