Nahant Benthic Surveys with Ted Maney

A couple days ago I had the chance to do some scientific research dives with Ted Maney. He’s continuing a 40+ year-long project documenting the health of the benthic environment at several sites along the North shore. About a month ago I went with him to do surveys at Halfway rock, but today we went out to survey Nahant. Interestingly, the Nahant sites had almost no urchins, whereas the Halfway rock sites were filled with Urchins. This meant that my main job of laying out a quadrat to count urchins was completely pointless, there just weren’t any urchins to count! However, I got to do 3 short dives in the rich, murky waters of Nahant. While absent of urchins, the rocks were covered in muscles, especially baby muscles. Ted said that this shift in the benthic community could be due to several compounding factors, including an increase in sea temperature, and a decline in sea stars, which helps muscles outcompete all other benthic invertebrates.