Low Tide Benthic Research

Bassings Beach and Tidal Flats Comprehensive Survey 

A fan favorite led by our Bassings expert, Susan Bryant. Research: all aspects of this dynamic barrier beach- dune grass ecology and dynamics; shellfish and eel grass beds. A true “renaissance” experience ripe with opportunities to snorkel, kayak, explore; sample, map, photograph, video, and document both science AND experience. Open to all students grades 9-college.

Dates: June 22 to August 28

Meets Monday- Wednesday- Friday 1:00 – 3:30 pm with special low tide expeditions according to the tidal cycle.

Bring: swim gear, water shoes, sun screen, a towel and a change of dry clothes. Your own snorkel gear, dam rake, GoPros, phones with waterproofing and laptop are also welcome.

Eelgrass: Help document the extent and health of Eelgrass beds. Observing and recording the local eelgrass population via wading, floating and snorkeling in local waters. We record footage using GoPro and use  ARCGIS (geographic information systems) to record densities, patchiness, patchiness, bottom type, tunicates and wasting disease of Eelgrass found around the harbor and Bassings Beach. At the lab we document these features along with number of leaves, length, width and reproductive shoots. We present our findings annually at CSCR’s State of the Harbor Event (link) and at Zosterapalooza (link), a conference held in Boston by Phil Colarusso (link) and the Environmental Protection Agency (link). Expect to get wet.


benthic-research-sample-collectionShellfish: Assess the quantity and quality of macro invertebrates that live on and in the mud in Cohasset Harbor by establishing field and lab protocols that will help inform us about the health of our harbor’s ecosystem. Cohasset harbor estuary has a history of shellfishing, but also an ebb and flow of varieties. The inner harbor and Cohasset site of the channel are currently closed to shellfishing and we explore why and whether they should remained closed, and whether there are indications that ecologically-based aquaculture could thrive there. We may experiment with growing shellfish from spat, and what grows naturally on docks and mud. We will also explore the little known benthic organisms, that form the base of many of our local foodchains. They live in the decaying remains of all that has fallen into the estuary over the centuries aka mud. We will compare our findings to data from previous surveys and will present them at the State of the Harbor and other public forums. Expect to get dirty.