Cyanobacteria and the Lakes
March 16th @ 6:30PM
Amanda McQuaid – Harmful Algal and Cyanobacterial Bloom Program, NHDES
Cyanobacteria blooms are a growing public health concern as elevated cell concentrations can present toxic conditions. NHDES issues recreational advisories when bloom conditions are confirmed. “Cyanobacteria Advisories” are issued when samples are collected and identified, with cell concentrations exceeding the state threshold of 70,000 cells/ml. “Cyanobacteria Alerts” are also shared when photos and reports have been submitted, but a sample has not yet been collected. Alerts and advisories help notify the community, advising to be on the lookout for cyanobacteria accumulations along shorelines and throughout the lake. The highest number of advisories have been issued in recent years, with 34 in 2018, 35 in 2019, and 23 advisories (plus 35 alerts) in 2020. Potentially toxic taxa have included Anabaena (Dolichospermum), Microcystis, and Oscillatoria (Planktothrix). However, there is a wide range of types of cyanobacteria identified in NH lakes. In this talk, we will discuss the importance of monitoring cyanobacteria and their toxins.
Amanda studied at the University of New Hampshire, earning her B.S. in Marine and Freshwater Biology (2006), M.S. in Zoology (2009) and Ph.D. in Biological Sciences (2019). Her research interests include ecology, cyanobacteria, toxicology, water quality, food webs and public health. She is currently the program coordinator for the newly developed Harmful Algal and Cyanobacterial Bloom Program and oversees the Beach Inspection Program at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. These programs focus on monitoring New Hampshire waterbodies for potential pathogens and toxic cyanobacteria to protect public health.
Common Loon Conservation in New Hampshire
March 30th @ 6:30PM
Caroline Hughes – Staff Biologist, Loon Preservation Committee
For many, the haunting call of the loon is a quintessential part of the New Hampshire lake experience. Often seen as a symbol of the northern wilderness, loons are a beloved fixture on our lakes, and many lake-goers enjoy watching them as they raise their young. However, the breeding season can be a vulnerable time for loons—they face many threats, both natural and human-caused, while on our lakes. This presentation will focus on the biology, life history, and challenges of breeding loons as well as the work that LPC has been performing since 1975 to help recover New Hampshire’s threatened loon population.
Caroline Hughes has worked as a biologist at the Loon Preservation Committee since 2016. In that time, she has thoroughly enjoyed getting acquainted with New Hampshire’s lakes and the loons and loon volunteers that call them home.
Reptiles and Amphibians of NH: Ecology, Threats, and Conservation
April 13th @ 6:30PM
Josh Megyesy – Wildlife Biologist, NH Fish & Game Department
Josh Megyesy is a wildlife biologist with the NH Fish & Game Department’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program. He is the Program’s turtle specialist with extensive experience monitoring and managing populations of Blanding’s, spotted, wood, and eastern box turtle populations. Josh helps manage the Reptile and Amphibian Reporting Program (RAARP), monitors other reptile and amphibian populations, and works on environmental review projects when they involve potential impacts to state listed turtle populations. He also participates in regional reptile and amphibian working groups with other federal, state, and NGO biologists to conserve turtle populations at the range-wide scale.
Bird Migration: Fun Facts & Shameless Speculations
April 27th @ 6:30PM
Pam Hunt – Avian Conservation Biologist, NH Audubon
Why do birds migrate? How do they know where they’re going? The phenomenon of bird migration has fascinated people for millennia, and in this program the answers are finally revealed! Pam Hunt will provide an overview of the nuts and bolts of bird migration, including how scientists study it. We’ll also discuss examples of migration routes of some familiar (and unfamiliar) species and touch on the conservation issues facing migratory birds.
Pam Hunt has been interested in birds since the tender age of 12, when an uncle took her to Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge in NJ. She went on to earn a B.S. in biology from Cornell University, M.A. in zoology from the University of Montana, and a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College in 1995. Pam came to NH Audubon in 2000 after five years as adjunct faculty at Colby-Sawyer College in New London. In her current position as Avian Conservation Biologist, she works closely with NH Fish and Game to coordinate and prioritize bird research and monitoring in the state, and also authored NH’s “State of the Birds” report. Specific areas of interest include habitat use by early successional birds (particularly whip-poor-wills), conservation of aerial insectivores (e.g., swifts and swallows), and the effects of events outside the breeding season on long-distance migrants. Pam also coordinated the “NH Dragonfly Survey,” a five-year project that mapped distributions of these insects throughout the state, and remains active in the dragonfly field.