Exploring Climate Change on Nantucket Island
By Dr. Jen Karberg, Research Program Supervisor
On an island like Nantucket it’s hard lately to not read something about climate change, sea level rise, coastal resilience, erosion, etc. These buzz words can be heard all around the island from the flash flooding on Easy St to storm erosion near Hummock Pond. From south shore to harbor – Nantucket is starting to feel the impacts of climate change but we are also starting to figure out how to respond to this change.
As we dive into the warm steamy months of summer on Nantucket, we are also approaching the season of harmful algal blooms in our freshwater ponds. Algal blooms have made headlines in recent years as concerns have increased over harmful impacts to pets and humans. What should you look for when visiting a pond in the summer?
In many conservation and restoration projects, ecologists work hard to protect native things or bring native things back to a place. But this last year, Nantucket Conservation Foundation Staff acted as predators and aggressively removed a native crab from a few salt marshes in Polpis Harbor. Our prey? The purple marsh crab (Sesarma reticulatum).
The impacts of climate change: increased sea level rise, increased occurrence of strong storm events, increased and more variable temperature and rainfall, temporal ecological disjuncts (ie plants flowering before their pollinators are around), and changes to natural communities (to name just a few impacts) all feel very immediate and important when you live on an island in the Atlantic Ocean.