We have wrapped up our first three Beach Talks of the season, making this an appropriate time to share what we have learned so far!
Piping Plover Along the Flyaway: A Full Life-cycle Story
We were very grateful to have Todd Pover bring his knowledge, enthusiasm, and experience all of the way from New Jersey for his presentation. Todd helped us to see how we share many of the same tensions and challenges in protecting Piping Plover populations with New Jersey, despite the distance and differing programs. Todd is able to see not only birds that nest in New Jersey in the summer, but the Piping Plovers passing through on their way to the Canadian Atlantic Coast. In addition to protecting Piping Plovers, we learned about the difficulty of balancing the interests of Piping Plovers, Least Terns, and American Oystercatchers who all share the beaches on New Jersey’s Atlantic Coast. One of the most important takeaways from Todd’s talk may have been the significance of investigating and protecting wintering grounds. We learned about international research in the Bahamas to ensure that Piping Plovers have appropriate habitat in both their nesting and wintering grounds. We look forward to hearing more about this initiative and are very grateful to Todd for his time and his enlightening presentation!
What Lays Under These Waters: Lake Sturgeon in the Great Lakes
Lloyd Mohr’s passion for Lake Sturgeon was contagious last Wednesday as he shared their struggle to overcome exploitation, habitat degradation, and fragmentation of Lake Sturgeon habitat. From the beginning of the presentation when we learned that Lake Sturgeon descend from the Acipenseriform Order of fish, which dates back 245 million years ago, our interest was piqued. While individual Lake Sturgeon can live over 150 years and their populations are recovering, they continue to face many obstacles. Similar to Piping Plovers, Lake Sturgeon continue to face problems associated with habitat degradation and human interference, and they continue to need public support for recovery efforts. We’ll continue to think about these ancient lake-dwellers as we work to protect the Great Lakes and the species that rely upon them!
The Changing Ecology and Fish Communities of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay
Arunas Liskauskas built upon Lloyd’s topic and enthusiasm by demonstrating the dynamic and fascinating way in which fish species interact with each other and their surroundings. We learned of the first wave of invasive species including Sea Lamprey and Alewife, among other species, and the way in which recovery efforts and the introduction of Chinook Salmon helped to restore an equilibrium in Lake Huron. We later learned of another wave of invasive species, including the Round Goby and Quagga Mussels and how these have also led to new discoveries and changes in the interactions in the depths of Lake Huron. He also illustrated the continuing threat of invasive species including the potential introduction of Asian Carp to the Great Lakes. Arunas engaged us in a broader understanding of the complexity of Great Lakes ecosystems and the importance of science and research as protection for the lakes in the years to come. We were very grateful for this nuanced story that gave context to the other discussions of habitat, conservation, and community involvement that continue to be important themes in our Beach Talks.
Join us on Wednesday (July 12) to continue the conversation as we move from the depths of the lake to the sandy shore as Mark Wiercinski discusses Birds and Ecology Along Lake Huron Shore at 6:30pm at Huron Feathers in Sauble Beach!