Natural History Conference Is On The Horizon

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Plans for this year’s Long Island Natural History Conference are well under way. With all the interest and debate about the impacts of Hurricane Sandy on Long Island’s flora and fauna, the steering committee decided that would be an exciting focus for this year’s presentations. Current research on this general topic, including work being done in the Great South Bay related to the new inlet on Fire Island, and monitoring the changes brought about by the loss of the dam at Sunken Meadow State Park are among the talks being offered.Some readers might be surprised to learn that the American eel has been considered for endangered or threatened species status by the federal government. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation biologist Carol Hoffman will present information on this fascinating creature, including current eel research and monitoring efforts on Long Island.

Biologist Mike Fishman will be on hand to report on his Long Island bat surveys. I caught Mike’s entertaining and fact-filled talk at the Northeast Natural History Conference last spring … don’t miss this one!

Josh Stiller of the DEC initiated a Long Island furbearer survey this year, and while the survey is not yet complete, he will be reporting his results to date. Included in this talk will be his verified report of a coyote residing on the South Fork—a subject sure to stir a lot of discussion.

Current research and information on carnivorous plants and the Carmans River, a history of Long Island’s menhaden industry, and an interesting sociological perspective of Long Island’s environmental movement are among the 16 presentations being offered this year.

The day-long event will be held at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Friday, December 6. The conference was first organized last year as a regional forum for researchers, natural resource managers, students, and naturalists to present and exchange current information on the varied aspects of applied field biology (freshwater, marine and terrestrial) and natural history of Long Island. It serves as a venue to identify research and management needs, foster friendships and collegial relationships, and encourage a greater regionwide interest in Long Island’s natural history by bringing together people with diverse backgrounds.

Last year’s conference identified and discussed several important natural resource issues: the status of local populations of diamondback terrapins and horseshoe crabs, efforts to require turtle excluder devices in crab traps, alewife ecology and restoration initiatives, surprising results from recent leopard frog surveys, and the fate of Plum Island, including an update on the effort to establish a national wildlife refuge on the island.

Registration information, as well as last year’s presentations, are available online at www.longislandnature.org.

Hope to see you there!

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