Ecological Research in Rhode Island: A Continuing Assessment
January 9, 1998
University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI

Comparison of the Positional Accuracy of Wetland Delineations
Using Digital Orthophotography & Aerial Photography

Jeffrey Barrette
Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881 and ESRI, Inc. [Olympia, WA], 606 Columbia St. NW Suite 213, Olympia, WA 98501-1099
Peter August and Francis Golet
Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881
Our study compared the horizontal accuracy of forested wetland boundary delineations obtained from natural color aerial photography against delineations obtained from “heads-up” digitizing of digital orthophotography. The distances from each of the derived boundaries (n=128) to the field-located “true” wetland boundary were measured using global positioning system (GPS) and geographic information system software. The mean absolute value distance (expressed in feet + 1 standard deviation) between the field-derived “true” wetland boundary location and the orthophotograph-derived wetland boundaries (11.26 + 11.31 feet) was significantly different (Z = -2.53, p < 0.05) from the mean distance between the “true” boundary and the aerial photo-derived wetland boundaries (14.87 + 13.28 feet). Despite the statistical differences in horizontal accuracy between orthophotograph- and aerial photograph-derived wetland boundaries, three feet on the ground is not significant in terms of ‘true’ wetland boundary delineation. Procedurally, wetland delineation using heads-up digitizing with digital orthophotography was much faster and considerably simpler than the process required with aerial photography.

Rhode Island’s Cobble Beach Plant Communities: Whole-System Facilitation
by Spartina Alterniflora

John Bruno and Tatyana Rand
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

Cobble beach plant communities are a relatively common, yet virtually undescribed habitat found throughout Narragansett Bay, RI. This assemblage is composed of both annual and perennial plants which live in an apparently stressful environment characterized by a mobile substrate, poor soil conditions, and daily immersion in saltwater. One of the most striking aspects of this community is that it is only found behind beds of the clonal grass Spartina alterniflora,forming parallel bands along the shore. The purpose of this investigation is to determine the mechanism of community facilitation by testing four alternative hypotheses which explain the absence of adult plants in locations without S. alterniflora:Ha1-Insufficient seed supply; Ha2-Failure of seeds to germinate; Ha3-Intolerance of seedlings; Ha4-Intolerance of adults. This is being accomplished through measurements of seed supply and environmental conditions altered by S. alterniflora,seed additions, and transplantation of seedlings and adult plants of 4 species. Results demonstrate that Spartinagreatly reduces mean and maximum flow speeds and increases substrate stability, thereby enhancing seed supply and enabling seedlings to emerge and survive.

Effectiveness of Exuvial Counts in Monitoring a Rare Dragonfly

Virginia Carpenter
The Nature Conservancy, 45 S. Angell St., Providence, RI 02906
Nina Briggs
726 Tuckertown Road, Wakefield, RI 02879

Since 1993 we have been monitoring several populations of the rare ringed boghaunter dragonfly, Williamsonia lintneri Hagen, in Rhode Island. Females oviposit in sphagnum pools in May, and larvae develop for approximately one year before emerging the following spring. Adults are cryptically colored and reclusive, moving into woodlands surrounding the breeding site immediately after emergence. The reclusive behavior of adult boghaunters makes it especially difficult to assess the status of populations based on counts of adults. The most effective method for censusing populations of this species is by counting larval skins (exuviae) left behind on vegetation at emergence. A comparison of adult counts and exuvial counts at one wetland illustrates the effectiveness of the latter methodology. Two experienced researchers searching the upland forests surrounding the wetland observed only 4 adult boghaunters in 2 hours. Equal time spent searching the wetland resulted in the location of 30 exuviae. After 4 exuvial sampling periods, a total population of 275 individuals was tallied. Results of exuvial counts at several sites have yielded valuable information on status of the species as a whole, status of individual populations, and trends over time.

Educational Opportunities in the Big River Management Area

Anna-Marie Carr and Josef H. Gorres
Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston RI 02881

The Big River Management Area (BRMA) is 8600 acres of declared open space area located in central Rhode Island containing some of the largest, most diverse contiguous wildlife habitat in Rhode Island. Based on studies conducted by RI Natural History Survey, University of Rhode Island, Audubon, various state naturalists and consultants, appropriate uses and management in this important open space area were evaluated by a committee of water suppliers, environmentalists, educators, legislators and regulators. The resulting report, adopted in August 1997, recommends that “land management, research activities, and resource use in the BRMA should be considered opportunities for water resource and environmental management education.” Specific recommendations include water quality monitoring, rural-urban gradients, buffer distance and grassland management. Proposed public uses, including education, will undergo a permitting process with the RI Water Resources Board. Two sets of criteria exist which evaluate any proposed public use. Initial parameters to be met are to ensure protection of water quality and adherence to all state protocols. Additional evaluation is required to locate a suitable site for the proposed activity. This presentation will explain the opportunities and the process to implement hands-on education in the BRMA.

Entomology for Students in Elementary School

George D. Christie
Elementary Entomology, 36 Ewing Road, North Kingstown, RI 02852

We cannot expect others to understand what we have learned, if we do not teach them. In a grade-school world replete with thematic units on the rain forest, many teachers are delighted to welcome speakers into their classrooms who discuss natural history as it relates Rhode Island. Using examples from my classes on “Insects in Winter,” “Household Insects,” and “Mosquitoes and Disease,” I will discuss the methods I have successfully used to bring local entomological information into the classroom in such a way as to give students a new perspective on their own world, plus a better understanding of the world of insects in general. Lecture techniques that hold students’ interest, ways of capturing the interest of the indifferent child, and child-proof displays (plus some “dos and don’ts” I’ve learned along the way) will also be discussed.

A Protocol for the Assessment of Biodiversity Hotspots for Rhode Island Municipalities

Nancy Cofer-Shabica, Aimee Mandeville, Alyson McAnn, Peter August, and Duane Chapman
Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881

Habitat loss is the single-most significant cause for the loss of local biodiversity. The legal authority to convert natural habitat to developed land occurs at the scale of the individual land parcel. The arena for these decisions is the Town Hall. Town zoning law dictates how land can be developed. Aquifers, recharge areas, wetlands and locations of regulated species are (or can be) clearly mapped, and therefore included in zoning regulations. Regions critical to support biodiversity are usually not mapped and are rarely (if ever) included in land use regulations. In theory, zoning regulations should reflect the need to protect critical natural resources such as groundwater, wetlands, rare and endangered species, and overall biodiversity. We have developed a simple protocol to estimate lands critical to support regional biodiversity using “off-the-shelf” GIS data. The ultimate product of our analysis is a map showing general regions of high importance in support of biodiversity. Our “mapematical” definition of “biodiversity” includes data on wetlands, habitat for rare species, natural land covers, large tracts of forest, sources of disturbance (roads, residential areas), and lands adjacent to protected areas and critical habitats. We will illustrate our process using the Towns of Narragansett and West Greenwich, Rhode Island as examples.

Block Island Bioreserve Education Program

Scott Comings
Block Island Bioreserve, The Nature Conservancy, Box 1287, Block Island, RI 02807

The education program which began in March of 1997 set a goal for each Block Island school student to be aware of the rich natural and cultural history of Block Island and to be able to understand how it relates to the world and how the world relates to it. The Nature Conservancy’s curriculum for the Block Island School is four-pronged. The first prong is a “rite of passage” event for each grade each year. At the end of this event, some type of “gift” will be received and incorporated into each student’s field kit. The second prong is four bird lessons per class, two lessons in fall, two lessons in the spring. These lessons would build upon each other and include both field and classroom activities. Supplemental field lessons which reflect or enhance what the students are studying in the classroom (ponds, plants, beach, concepts, etc.) make up the third prong. So, between the bird and supplemental lessons there would be at least one field trip with TNC staff per month per class. The final prong is to get three or four speakers to come in and present certain subjects to the whole school. This talk will outline what has worked and potential ways to implement parts of this program elsewhere.

Abundance and Movement Chronology of Amphibians Using Two Ephemeral Ponds
in Southern Rhode Island

William B. Crouch and Peter W.C. Paton
Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston RI 02881

From March through October 1997, we monitored the amphibian community breeding in two upland ephemeral ponds in southern Rhode Island. Pond 1 (612 square meters) is located in an unfragmented landscape in Arcadia Management Area (5591 ha), whereas Pond 2 (1455 square meters) is on private land bordered on two sides by paved roads within a 20 ha patch of mixed hardwoods. Movement chronology and breeding success were determined by completely encircling each pond with 1-m tall silt fencing, with pitfalls placed at 10 m intervals around the interior and exterior of the array. The arrays were checked daily and captured animals were toe-clipped, measured, and released on the opposite side of the fence. Eleven species were detected at each pond: 3515 individuals (1432 adults and 2083 juveniles) were captured at Pond 1, while 2812 individuals (480 adults and 2332 juveniles) were found at Pond 2. We quantified movement chronology in relationship to the number of storm events since precipitation was found to be the most important variable in predicting movements. We also noted significant temporal interspecific segregation in use of each pond. Data will be presented on the movement chronologies, sex ratios, and reproductive success of six species utilizing these ponds.

Breeding Ecology of the Saltmarsh Sharp-Tailed Sparrow at the Galilee Bird Sanctuary

Deborah A. DiQuinzio and Peter W.C. Paton
Department of Natural Resources Science,
University of Rhode Island, 210B Woodward Hall, Kingston, RI 02881
William R. Eddleman
Department of Biology, Southeast Missouri State University
One University Plaza, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

In 1956, construction of a road through the Galilee Bird Sanctuary in Narragansett, Rhode Island severely restricted tidal flow in the 60 ha salt marsh. Enlarged culverts were installed by the fall of 1997 to convert the common reed (Phragmites australis) dominated system to salt meadow (Spartina patens, Distichlis spicata, Juncus gerardii) and cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora). The Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus), which nests exclusively in salt meadow/cordgrass habitats has been under investigation at the Galilee Sanctuary since 1993. Pre-restoration site fidelity has been monitored by tracking movements of 461 individually color-banded birds. Preliminary analysis found a mean return rate of 21% for females, 38% for males, and 15% for juveniles between consecutive years. Our results differ significantly from Greenlaw’s (1994) estimates of an equally strong return rate of 53-60% for male and female adults and of 7% for juveniles. During the 1996-97 field seasons, 428 additional birds were studied at six satellite study areas in southern Rhode Island, including the Sachuest restoration site and the comparatively undisturbed marshes of Prudence Island Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Pre-restoration site fidelity and reproductive success at Galilee will be discussed relative to the data gathered at the satellite sites.

Age-Related Differences in Preparation for Fall Migration in the Gray Catbird,
Dumetella Carolinensis, on Block Island, Rhode Island

Colleen S. Dwyer and Frank R. Moore
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406

The Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) is a Nearctic-Neotropical migratory bird which breeds and subsequently prepares for fall migration in high densities on Block Island, Rhode Island. Migration is a risky event due to increased energetic needs, possible navigational errors, and a high risk of predation while migrating. Therefore, it is essential for birds to prepare for migration by depositing fat stores which are utilized to meet energetic demands. After the breeding season and prior to fall migration, the majority of birds in a population are young, hatching-year birds (HY) preparing for their first migration. Since these young birds are less experienced than the adult birds, we expect differences in how adult and juvenile birds prepare for fall migration. We investigated whether the amount and timing of fat deposition varies between adult and HY catbirds. We also expect variability within the group of HY catbirds, since birds that hatched earlier in the season are further along in their development than HY birds hatched later in the season. We developed a system to qualitatively assess the development of hatching-year catbirds and used these scores to determine if older HY catbirds are better prepared for migration than younger HY birds.

The Tiger Beetle of Rhode Island

Richard W. Enser
RI Natural Heritage Program, RIDEM, 235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908

In recent years, the family of tiger beetles (Coleoptera: Cicindelidae) has been used as an indicator taxon for studying patterns of biodiversity and identifying natural communities of conservation importance. The criteria that maximize the usefulness of this group of insects to conservation biology include, 1) a well-defined taxonomy; 2) relatively well-understood life histories; 3) habitat specialization at the species level; and, 4) behaviors that generally allow quick identification in the field. During the period of 1992-1997 a systematic inventory of the tiger beetles of Rhode Island was conducted. The goals of this survey were to determine the current distribution and status of all tiger beetles in the state, define habitat specifications, and identify conservation needs for taxa vulnerable to decline. Of the fourteen species of tiger beetles documented for Rhode Island since the turn of the century, two were not located and are believed to be extirpated from the state; two are currently restricted to unique habitats at single locations; and, several others have declined due to habitat conversion and degradation. In general, coastal beaches and inland sand barrens are the natural communities supporting the richest tiger beetle assemblages. Abandoned sand and gravel extraction sites provide surrogate habitats for some species, however these human-created areas appear to have marginal value for species in decline.

Reconstruction of Late Quaternary Environments of the Great Swamp Area,
South Kingstown, Rhode Island

Janet Freedman
Department of Geology, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881

A series of vibracore samples were taken within the Great Swamp in South Kingston, RI. Sediment stratigraphy and macrofossils (plant and insect remains) from the cores were used to reconstruct environmental change from the time of deglaciation to the Pleistocene/Holocene transition, approximately 10,000 years ago. Seeds, leaves and twigs extracted from core sediment were identified. Changes in plant composition were used to interpret changes in water regime within the wetland area. AMS radiocarbon dates constrained the timing of wetland changes. A shallow lake filled the basin 12,700 (14C) years ago, following isostatic rebound and climate amelioration. A drop in water level at 12,450 initiated fen development. Increases in the sedimentation rate and introduction of vascular aquatic plants indicated a rise in water level by 11,850. This was followed by poor organic preservation within core sediments, presumed to be due to seasonal flooding and subsequent drying. Water levels stabilized by the onset of the Younger Dryas, 10,770 years ago. Results from the Great Swamp project were correlated with regional and global data. Similar composition of macrofossil assemblages from Pequot Cedar Swamp in Connecticut suggests that wetland changes resulted from regional events and were not limited to the Great Swamp Basin. Correlation of wetland changes with temperature oscillations inferred from oxygen isotope records from the GISP2 ice core in Greenland suggests that local wetland changes were a response to global climate events.

Estimates of Aquifer Parameters and Pollution with Geoelectrics

Reinhard K. Frolich
Department of Geology, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881

Conventionally aquifers are being investigated with borings and pumping tests and with water analyses. In the case of aquifer pollution this procedure has led to bizarre results by placing observation wells so close to each other that the integrity of the aquifer has been destroyed. Therefore a need for “noninvasive” methods became important. Today noninvasive geophysical surface methods are frequently being used and such methods as EM, Ground Penetrating Radar, and Geoelectrics with the four point method are continuously improved for the measurement of aquifer parameters. The most detailed information is obtained with the geoelectric depth sounding method in conjunction with selected borings. With this method an electrical DC-current is fed into the ground via two current electrodes. The resulting voltage is measured between two centered short-spaced potential electrodes MN. The current electrodes are successively expanded after each measurement. These measurements show the change of the electrical resistivity with depth. The depth penetration is practically unlimited and depends on the current electrode spacing. The measured resistivities can be inverted to a resistivity depth distribution, whereby polluted aquifers show a low resistivity due to a high ion concentration, whereas clean aquifers with a small ion concentration show a higher resistivity. This method has also been applied to find aquifers of high hydraulic conductivity or transmissivity. Aquifers of low hydraulic conductivity have a low resistivity, whereas high hydraulic conductivity aquifers are characterized by high electrical resistivities. Such relationships have been established in many countries, such as India, Libya, France, and USA. The dependence of hydraulic conductivity on the electrical resistivity is based on the surface conductance of grains. Examples are shown of the change of the electrical resistivity with hydraulic transmissivity in Rhode Island in comparison with results from the Rhine in the Alsace. In bedrock fractures the dependence of the electrical resistivity was tested with Packer tests on the Central Landfill. The established relationship also allows an estimate whether the well is polluted. Examples of groundwater pollution are shown from Cape Cod near Provincetown. In this example the resolution of the geoelectrical depth sounding method is demonstrated that is based on the nonuniqueness, an inherent uncertainty of geophysical methods. In some cases it is necessary to include additional methods of observation to aid in the interpretation. Laboratory measurements of electrical resistivity of aquifer material were necessary to decide whether a low resistivity was caused by the clay component or the low resistivity of the polluted pore fluid. This was necessary on the Derector Shipyard of the Newport Naval Base, where polluted till had a considerable clay component, which is per se a good electrical conductor. The most suitable sites, those with very low layer resistivities, are then recommended for test wells. Geophysical methods are usually evaluated by what they find. Seldom is it mentioned that the areas they do not recommend for drilling present an enormous savings.

First-Year Revegetation and Avian Use at a Salt Marsh Restoration Site
in Portsmouth, Rhode Island

James P. Gass, Francis C. Golet, and Dennis H.A. Myshrall
Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881

During the summer of 1997, plant recolonization and avian use was assessed at a newly restored 2 ha coastal salt marsh at Common Fence Point in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Percent cover and frequency of vegetation were measured in 162 square meter quadrats laid out in a systematic fashion along 20 transects. Birds were surveyed once a week at high and low tide. Two other nearby natural marshes (Ref 1 and Ref 2) were also surveyed in an effort to determine what the bird assemblage might be at the restored site once it was fully vegetated. Bird use of the restoration site was immediate; 32 species were observed there in the first summer. This restoration site, which had only 2.1% plant cover by the end of the summer, supported more shorebirds, gulls and terns, doves and crows, but fewer wading birds and songbirds, than the highly vegetated reference marshes. Avian community composition at the restoration site was similar to that at Ref 2, which was comparable in size and which, like the restoration site, contained more than 50% open water at high tide. Spartina alterniflora was the most important plant species in the low and mid marsh. Juncus gerardii was the most important species in the high marsh. This research demonstrates that a restored salt marsh, even in its earliest stages, can provide habitat for a wide variety of avian species, particularly migratory shorebirds.

The Great Blackstone River Treasure Hunt

Greg Gerritt
Sierra Club, RI Chapter, 10 Abbott Park Place, 4th Floor, Providence, RI 02903

The Great Blackstone Treasure Hunt has been a very interesting and informative way to teach children about the Blackstone River Valley’s history and ecology. The first year was rather successful and I am using what I learned the first year to improve the program. I would like to share what I have learned and present the Treasure Hunt model as one that can be adapted to almost any watershed and for almost any age group of children. I will talk about the Treasure Hunt as both a summer youth program and school program.

Distribution and Abundance of Adult Deer Ticks on Islands

H. S. Ginsberg and E. Zhioua
Biological Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey and Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881
F. Verret, J. Fischer, and H.B. Underwood
SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, Syracuse, NY

Studies were performed to test the informal observation that adult deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) are rare on islands (e.g., Prudence Island, RI; Fire Island, NY) relative to nearby mainland areas, even at sites where immature ticks are abundant. Ticks were sampled at two Fire Island sites, and at two nearby mainland sites. The number of nymphal ticks per flagging sample differed significantly among sites, but not consistently between island and mainland sites. In contrast, adult ticks were consistently less common at island sites than on the mainland. Survival experiments with nymphal ticks in stocking enclosures showed no difference in survival between island and mainland sites. However, when deer were excluded from deciduous and coniferous sites on Fire Island using game fencing, adult ticks were far more abundant in flagging samples inside the exclosures than outside (adult ticks had been equally abundant inside and outside the exclosure areas before the fences were built). Therefore, freeliving adult ticks are difficult to find on Fire Island because a large proportion of the adults on the island are on deer.

Salt Marsh Restoration Monitoring at the Galilee Bird Sanctuary, Narragansett,
Rhode Island

Francis C. Golet, Dennis H.A. Myshrall, Peter W.C. Paton, Sean Feeley
Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881
Brian C. Tefft
R.I. Division of Fish and Wildlife, Great Swamp Management Area, West Kingston, RI 02892

The 50-ha Galilee Bird Sanctuary was once dominated by salt marsh, tidal creeks, and ponds, but road construction in 1956 severely altered the hydrology of the area. By 1991, only 3.5 ha of salt marsh remained; most of the Sanctuary had become brackish or freshwater wetland dominated by Phragmites and shrubs. Salt marsh restoration will begin during 1997 with the re-introduction of full tidal flow into the Sanctuary. In 1991, we started an intensive monitoring program in the Sanctuary and in an adjacent natural salt marsh. We monitored tide levels with computerized tide gages, conducted elevation surveys, and tracked salinity and groundwater levels. Using 1:2,400-scale aerial photography, we mapped 16 different habitats and developed a GIS database. We sampled the structure and floristic composition of 11 habitats in 300 permanent plots, and obtained biomass production estimates for Phragmites and Spartina alterniflora. Waterbirds and songbirds were censused seasonally and nest success for sharp-tailed sparrows was determined during 4 summers. In 1996, we began monitoring salt marsh snails and fish. In addition to helping us judge the success of the restoration, these baseline data will enable us to determine recolonization rates for both plants and animals.

Grateloupia Doyphora, an Invasive Red Seaweed, is Spreading in Rhode Island Waters

Marilyn M. Harlin
Department of Biological Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881
Martine Villalard-Bohnsack
Department of Biology, Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI 02809

The first reports of G. doryphora on the northeast coast of North America were published in 1997. At that time, this invasive red alga was restricted to the Eastern Passage of Narragansett Bay. Since then, its range has extended: in the Eastern Passage south to Breton Reef on Rhode Island Sound and north to Melville (Newport Co.). It has also jumped to the western shores of the Western Passage, Bonnet Point, and from Bass Rock to Scarborough Beach on Rhode Island Sound (Washington Co.). Quantitative data from transects and herbarium collections demonstrate that the greatest biomass appeared when water temperatures reached 23o C. These data at key sites will be compared in the poster. Mature specimens are releasing tetraspores and carpospores in large quantities. We are presently looking at how and when they attach. In both laboratory and field, young plants grow from crusts on rock and shell substrata.

How “Flow–A Puppet Dance” Was Created

Heather Beth Henson
190 Mathewson Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02903

FLOW is a choreographed puppet dance inspired by the actual harmonies that take place within the wetland ecosystem. The elements of this particular niche flow together in a dramatic display of relationships, where one thing effects another, until ultimately all of the disparate parts synchronize together, creating a unifying dance. This dance is manifested through the movement of objects, images, and people. Resounding life’s vivacious qualities through the creation of images through animated puppets and human figures. At the edge of the Narragansett Bay, the world seems utterly alive, flowing and swirling around me and through me. This visceral dance surrounding my person perpetually displaying that all is vivacious. “FLOW” comes from a deep desire to become a part of this dance, to find those movements within ourselves and reverberate them through our creation of art, in animated objects and body movement. The puppets are collages of material that I have collected from nature, from the specific wetland ecosystem that I was observing. I try to harness the reflective, resonating nature of life in the puppets’ form. The gathered building material does not represent the item it came from but instead some other element. The material is used as metaphor to demonstrate this universality. As the reeds are swept back and forth, across the stage to represent the receding tide. To create the bird body, I do not use actual bird feathers but sun bleached muscle shells that visually reflect the patterns of feathers. The wings of the bird are again reeds, now the shape of the leaves reflect that of the bird’s long plumes.

Restoration of Mosquito Beach–a Tidally Restricted Salt Marsh on Block Island, RI

Mary-Jane James-Pirri and Alan Gettman
URI Partnership in Infectious Disease Control and RIDEM Mosquito Abatement Program
Stedman Government Center, 4808 Tower Hill Road, Wakefield, RI 02879

Mosquito Beach is a two acre salt marsh located on the eastern side of the Great Salt Pond. In 1994 it was determined that excessive populations of saltmarsh mosquitoes are produced from this marsh following the full moon high tides that flood the marsh and hatch the eggs. Following the recession of high tides, water remains trapped behind the dune that borders the marsh. The infrequent flushing of the marsh creates a condition favorable for mosquito larval development but not conducive for predatory fish. This restoration project entails deepening a breach in the dune, clearing clogged sections of the central ditch, and creating a dam to retain water in a fish reservoir. These changes will increase tidal flushing, reduce the area of trapped water, and augment fish access to and predation on mosquito larvae.

Rare Plant Abundance in an Endangered Species “Hot Spot”

Keith T. Killingbeck
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881
Bob Deegan
Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881
Ron Flores
Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Charlestown, RI 02813

Endangered species “hot spots” are landscapes that support an extraordinarily diverse array of rare species. One such “hot spot” harboring six plant species considered to be rare in Rhode Island was discovered in the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge in 1993 by Ron Flores and Gil George. In 1996, we measured 1) the abundance and distribution of two of these six species, and 2) four site characteristics that can be used to infer past disturbance. Mean densities and total population estimates of Aletris farinosa (18.0 plants/square meter, 41,400 individuals) and Platanthera ciliaris (10.7 plants/square meter, 24,610 individuals) were extremely high within the 2300 square meter core of the “hot spot,” yet fewer than 40 stems of both species combined were found outside the core. Disturbance appears to have played a role in the establishment of this diverse plant assemblage because correlates of disturbance were significantly correlated with the distribution of Aletris farinosa and Platanthera ciliaris. The fact that there are more individuals of Platanthera ciliaris at this single location than in all of the rest of New England underscores the value of this site for the conservation of endangered plants in particular, and the study of rare species in general.

Long-Term Population Trends of Birds Captured at the Kingston Wildlife Research Station

Doug Kraus
P.O. Box 57, Kingston RI 02881
Peter W.C. Paton
Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston RI 02881

The fall migration of landbirds in Kingston, Rhode Island was monitored from 1956 to 1994 at a banding station operated by Doug Kraus. Habitat on the property has changed from old-fields and woodlands in 1956 to primarily forested lands in 1994. Four mist nets were operated each fall, with total net hours averaging 666 per year (range = 60-891). A total of 24,639 birds representing 109 species were captured at the research station over 39 years. The five most common species were Gray Catbird (14.8% of all captures), White-throated Sparrow (10.6%), Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler (8.5%), Common Yellowthroat (6.1%), and American Redstart (5.6%). Capture rates were greatest in 1958 (2.3 birds/net hour) and 1971 (2.2 birds/net hour), and gradually declined during the course of the study (e.g., 1.74 birds/net hour from 1956-59 compared to 0.66 birds/net hour from 1990-94). Population trends of grassland/shrub specialists declined at the Kingston Wildlife Research Station, which mirrored other sites in the Northeast.

Seasonal Distribution of the Intertidal Wolf Spider Pardosa Lapidicina
Along the Rhode Island Coast

Johanna M. Kraus and Douglass H. Morse
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

The small wolf spider Pardosa lapidicina occupies cobble beaches at the Haffenreffer Reserve in Bristol, Rhode Island during the spring, summer, and autumn, regularly following the tides down into the low intertidal and retreating before them. Over this time they do not occupy the coastal forest immediately above these beaches. However, during a short period in November and December most individuals retreat into the forest and apparently aestivate in the litter over the winter. The cues responsible for regulating this pulsed movement are as yet unclear. Small numbers of Pardosa remain at the upper edge of the beach through the winter, periodically becoming active. We will discuss the basis for this dichotomy in overwintering strategies.

Forensic Botany: The Germantown Botanical Club, 1860-1889

Peter T. Lockwood
Mason and Associates, 771 Plainfield Pike, North Scituate, RI 02857

The application of forensic botany is described as relates to the investigation of 1,654 unsigned 19th Century herbarium specimens. The collection housed at the URI Herbarium represents collections from 34 States and 6 Countries and contains material of some botanical and historical interest. Specimen data were entered into a spreadsheet database to facilitate sorting by date, location, and handwriting style. Handwriting analysis and comparison with known material resulted in several interesting discoveries. Review of contemporary botanical literature also suggests a correlation with certain authors. While this circumstantial evidence implicates several well-known botanists of that era, the final assignment of the collection still remains uncertain for reasons to be explained.

Aquatic Life Support in the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed: Determining Areas at Risk

Suzanne Lussier, Gerald Pesch, Henry Walker
EPA Atlantic Ecology Division, 27 Tarzwell Drive, Narragansett, RI 02882
Randy Comeleo, Jane Copeland, Michael Charpentier
OAO Corporation, 27 Tarzwell Drive, Narragansett, RI 02882
Linda Green, Elizabeth Herron
Watershed Watch, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881
Robert Adler, David Turin
EPA Region I, JFK Federal Building, Boston, MA 02203
Robert Bernardo
RIDEM, 235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02905

Provisions within the Clean Water Act require each state to report the achievement of water quality standards and designated uses. States use survey and assessment methods to examine physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of a water body and determine impairment of designated uses. This is the first step in identifying problems and possible remedies, and assessing whether impairments are of natural or anthropogenic causes. There are several areas within the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed, located in southwestern Rhode Island and southeastern Connecticut, that only partially support categories of “Aquatic Life Use Support,” as defined in Section 305b of the Clean Water Act. Approximately one-quarter the size of Rhode Island, it is the State’s largest watershed, and the only one nominated for Wild and Scenic designation. It supports the largest number of rare plants, animals and natural communities of any watershed in the state. Using Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques, we have analyzed physical watershed characteristics and described the spatial pattern of human population and land use to augment preliminary assessments. This poster illustrates our application of GIS to model watershed hydrological processes and to identify probable causes of non-attainment in the Wood-Pawcatuck.

Landscape Correlates of Breeding Bird Diversity in Rhode Island

Aimee Mandeville and Peter August
Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881

The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Rhode Island (Enser, 1992) consists of a statewide grid network (24 square kilometers per cell) with data on the level of certainty of breeding for each species comprising Rhode Island’s avifauna. In total, 165 grid cells occur wholly, or partially, in the state. We entered the Breeding Bird Survey data into GIS format and for each grid cell we computed a number of measures that reflect the quality of habitat available to breeding birds or levels of human disturbance. The fundamental purpose of this study was to examine relationships between breeding bird diversity and landscape-level measures of habitat quality. We computed a number of measures of bird diversity (e.g., total number of species, total number of passerines, shore birds, etc.). Our independent variables consist of two classes of measures–aerial measures (e.g., total amount of forest, habitat diversity) and landscape/patch metrics (e.g., patchiness, amount of edge). For all analyses, we used residuals from linear regression analysis to standardize habitat measures and bird diversity data to the amount of area of each grid cell falling within Rhode Island (vs Connecticut, Massachusetts, ocean). We used correlation and regression methods to discern the relationships between habitat and bird diversity.

Biomass and Genera of Epiphytes on Ruppia Maritima in Trustom Pond, Rhode Island

Veronica J. Masson
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881

Epiphytes, organisms which grow on the surface of plants, are often found on submerged aquatic vegetation. Epiphytes use their host plant as a substratum upon which to attach and thereby position themselves higher in the water column. This study focuses on epiphytes in Ruppia maritima, a freshwater angiosperm with a high tolerance for salinity. The research took place in Trustom Pond, Rhode Island, a shallow coastal lagoon, in 1996. Epiphyte biomass was measured at three stations in the pond and was found to remain at a relatively stable level throughout the study period. Minimal fluctuations in biomass were explained by wind driven turbulence at two of the three sites. Differences in biomass were found to correspond to sampled leaf depth. Of the two highly exposed sites, one had an average plant height lower than the other, and leaves lower in the water column were found to have a higher epiphyte biomass. Composition of genera did not change significantly throughout the study. Certain environmental parameters such as chlorophyll a and salinity differed from those in a previous year indicating that environmental conditions in the pond can vary from year to year.


Russell Menard
Roger Williams Park Zoo, Elmwood Avenue, Providence, RI 02906

This paper will describe Roger Williams Park Zoo’s role in the Raise and Release project for the American Burying Beetle. This project began in 1994 when, at the request of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Roger Williams Park Zoo agreed to establish a breeding colony of burying beetles. The presentation will discuss burying beetle natural history, but its main focus will be to describe the rearing techniques used by the zoo and their successes and failures. We will also briefly discuss the Nantucket Island release project as well as the current status of the captive population, including the possible development of a permanent public display of the American Burying Beetle.

Influence of Tidal Hydrology on the Distribution of Salt Marsh Plant Communities
at the Galilee Bird Sanctuary, Narragansett, Rhode Island

Dennis H. A. Myshrall and Francis C. Golet
Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881

Using computerized tide gages and extensive elevation surveys, we examined the influence of tidal hydrology on plant community distribution in an undisturbed salt marsh (Bluff Hill Cove) and at a nearby marsh (Galilee Bird Sanctuary) where the tidal range was only one-fifth as great. Despite radically different tidal regimes, the two marshes supported the same six plant communities: tall Spartina alterniflora, short S. alterniflora, salt meadow, short Phragmites australis, tall P. australis, and upland shrubs; however, Sanctuary communities spanned only one-half the elevation range of those at Bluff Hill Cove. A discriminant model based on frequency and duration of tidal flooding was developed for each site and was used to predict the distribution of the six plant communities. Classification accuracies for five of these communities ranged from 79-97% at both marshes. Correct classification for short Phragmites was 66% at Bluff Hill Cove and only 5% in the Sanctuary. Elevated amounts of freshwater inflow were believed responsible for the poor model performance in the short Phragmites zone at the Sanctuary. With this one exception, it was clear that tidal hydrology was the dominant force controlling plant zonation in both undisturbed and tidally restricted salt marshes.

Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles of Southern New England

Robert Nawojchik
Mystic Marinelife Aquarium, Mystic, Connecticut 06355

Mystic Aquarium is a member of the marine mammal and sea turtle stranding networks and has exclusive coverage for Connecticut and Rhode Island. Accumulated stranding data may suggest temporal and/or spatial patterns of distribution. Necropsy findings often provide important life history data, as well as information on such things as human interaction. In addition to the stranding program, boat surveys and anecdotal reports from the public are used to enhance our understanding of local populations. Marine mammal strandings show a clear trend of increasing over time, whereas sea turtle patterns are equivocal. The increase in marine mammal strandings is primarily due to increased numbers of seals, particularly ice seals (e.g., Harp Seals, Phoca groenlandica, and Hooded Seals, Cystophora cristata). Causes of death were not always observable, yet in some cases (particularly sea turtles) human interaction was implicated. Temporal analysis of standing patterns illustrates that strandings occur year-round, yet certain species peak seasonally (e.g., seals are most abundant in southern New England from late autumn through early spring; the sea turtle pulse is from late summer through early fall). Rhode Island waters clearly support significant populations of several species of marine mammals and sea turtles.

Can Biodiversity by Predicted from Features of the Landscape?

William F. Nichols
New Hampshire Natural Heritage Program, Concord, NH 03302
Keith T. Killingbeck
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881
Peter V. August
Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881

The influence of geomorphology on plant species richness was studied in 26 Rhode Island Audubon refuges ranging in size from 1.4 – 58.6 ha. Indices of abiotic heterogeneity reflecting spatial variation in slope, aspect, and soil drainage were calculated from databases in a Geographic Information System. After removing the influence of refuge size on both biotic diversity and geomorphological heterogeneity, vascular plant species richness was found to be highly related to geomorphological heterogeneity. Diversity in soil drainage class alone accounted for more than 50% of the variance in total plant species richness (r2 = 0.53, P < 0.001) and was significantly related to the species richness of ten of the eleven life form classes of plants studied. In a stepwise multiple regression analysis, soil drainage heterogeneity and refuge size explained 66% (P < 0.001) of the variation in species richness (soil drainage heterogeneity, partial r2 = 0.39; refuge size, partial r2 = 0.27). These results explicitly support the tenet that geomorphological heterogeneity plays a major role in determining species richness. Because biotic and abiotic diversity were intricately linked at the scale of the landscape, conservation of geomorphological heterogeneity may be an effective strategy for conserving biodiversity.

The Utility of the Watershed Concept in Organizing Information, Making Better Decisions, and Protecting Valued Coastal Resources

Gerald Pesch, Henry Walker, Stephen Hale, Suzanne Lussier, Walt Galloway
U. S. EPA National Health and Environmental Effects Laboratory, Atlantic Ecology Division
27 Tarzwell Drive, Narragansett, RI 02882
Robert Adler, David Turin
EPA Region I, JFK Federal Building, Boston, MA 02203
Robert Bernardo
R. I. Department of Environmental Management, 235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02098
Jane Copeland, Randy Comeleo, Michael Charpentier
Signal Corporation, U. S. EPA, 27 Tarzwell Drive, Narragansett, RI 02882
Linda Green, Elizabeth Herron
Cooperative Extension Service, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881
Dan Sheehy
U. S. National Academy of Science, National Research Council, U. S. EPA
27 Tarzwell Drive, Narragansett, RI 02882

The Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed, located in southern Rhode Island and Connecticut, was recently selected as the model case study for New England for federal, state, and local partnerships to implement the new, national watershed-based environmental management strategy. The partnership approach reflects a shift from a legally driven, command-and-control process to watershed-based environmental management as promoted by the Environmental Protection Agency. Ecosystems have become the “natural” units for environmental management, and watersheds provide landscape definition to the dimension of the “natural” unit of study. This watershed management approach forces integration of the risk analysis process to include point and non-point sources of contamination, and habitat alterations in sites of interest. The approach provides a framework for identifying and targeting priority problems; encourages community involvement; provides integrated solutions to identified problems; uses the expertise and authority of multiple agencies and organizations; and measures success through performance-based monitoring. The Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed initiative illustrates the application of this approach to coastal environments.

The Secret Life of a Fisheries Biologist

Chris Powell
R.I. Department of Environmental Management Division of Fish & Wildlife,
P. O. Box 218, West Kingston, RI 02982

Narragansett Bay is Rhode Island’s most important natural resource, yet the pressures on it from fishing, development, and industry are tremendous. To better understand and properly manage this valuable resource, marine scientists spend countless hours studying the bay’s complex ecosystem. Fisheries biologists with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Fish and Wildlife have an important role to insure the health of the bay’s fisheries. During this talk we will look at a few of the research projects conducted by state fisheries biologists. We will accompany them as they trawl for winter flounder in the bay and attach special tags to them to study their migration and movements around the bay. We will visit different locations around the bay as biologists monitor juvenile fish populations and study their special habitat requirements. Finally, we will look at an effort to restore eelgrass habitat to the bay and see why this effort is so important to the future health of the bay and its fisheries.

Status of Freshwater Mussels (Families Margaritiferidae and Unionidae) in Rhode Island

Christopher J. Raithel
RIDEM Division of Fish and Wildlife, P. O. Box 218, West Kingston, RI 02892

North America, especially the midwestern and southeastern United States, contains the richest mussel fauna in the world. Unfortunately, there has been a high rate of species loss due to commercial collection and the degradation of aquatic systems. Much of the historical Rhode Island information about this group was due to the work of H. F. Carpenter, who published brief status reports in the malacological journal Nautilus. Carpenter’s collection still resides at the Roger Williams Park Natural History Museum. During the last decade, a comprehensive statewide survey of freshwater mussels has been conducted. Nine species of mussels can be documented historically in Rhode Island. Of these, one species (Alasmidonta varicosa) has been extirpated, and several other taxa are uncommon or localized within the state. Survey protocols, results and life history of freshwater mussels are discussed. Some inferences about mussel population trends during this century can be made by comparing present and historical data. This information should allow better prioritization of conservation efforts and environmental review on behalf of this fauna in Rhode Island.

Assessment of Nekton Communities in Two Rhode Island Salt Marshes Receiving Restricted Tidal Flow

Kenneth Raposa
Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, RI 02882
Charles T. Roman
USGS-Biological Resources Division, URI Graduate School of Oceanography,
Narragansett, RI 02882

The Galilee Bird Sanctuary and Sachuest Point salt marshes are examples of degraded salt marshes in Rhode Island. Roads bisect each marsh, limiting tidal flow to upstream areas. Tidal flow was restored to the Galilee salt marsh in October, 1997, and is expected to be restored to Sachuest in 1998. Natural resource monitoring, conducted before and after tidal reintroduction, will help evaluate the ecological success of these habitat restoration efforts, and nekton communities (fish and decapod crustaceans) represent an important component of such monitoring. Nekton were sampled in Sachuest in 1996 from subtidal areas with seines and from the marsh surface with fyke nets. Nekton were sampled in 1997 from both marshes using a quantitative 1 square meter throw trap. Communities in restricted and unrestricted portions of each marsh differed in terms of species richness and density. Throw trap sampling in tidal creeks from June through September 1997 demonstrated that restricted and unrestricted portions of the Galilee salt marsh respectively supported 15 and 8 species, at mean densities of 39 and 22 animals/square meter. Similar sampling in Sachuest showed an unrestricted marsh community consisting of 9 species at a mean density of 27 animals/square meter with the restricted marsh supporting only 5 species at 6 animals/square meter. Despite receiving reduced tidal flow, restricted marsh areas continue to provide a valuable habitat for estuarine nekton, although this value varies between marshes.

Thoughts on Rhode Island Statewide Conservation Planning and a Look at the Nature Conservance’s Conservation Planning Process

Jon Regosin and Kevin Ruddock
The Nature Conservancy, 45 South Angell St., Providence, RI 02906
Rick Enser
Rhode Island Natural Heritage Program, 235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908

We examined the distributions of (1) imperiled species and natural communities, (2) large blocks of relatively unfragmented natural lands, (3) breeding bird assemblages, and (4) large blocks of legally protected lands, in an ongoing effort to coarsely identify key landscape “focus areas” for conservation of Rhode Island biodiversity. Given limited resources and ability to influence land use patterns, delineation of landscape focus areas for The Nature Conservancy’s conservation efforts is an attempt to “capture” and protect the diversity of species, natural communities, and ecosystems representative of the state of Rhode Island as a whole. Once focus areas are delineated, the conservation planning team defines appropriate conservation actions by considering (1) scientific data and theory, (2) opportunities and threats in terms of existing land uses, economic trends, and land ownership patterns, and (3) resource availability. This approach is illustrated by way of several examples.

Aquidneck Island Partnership: Realizing a Shared Island Vision

Jared Rhodes
Coastal Resources Center, University of Rhode Island
200 South Ferry Road, Narragansett, RI 02882

During the past two years the University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center has coordinated with diverse economic, environmental, civic and historical groups to promote ecosystem management and link environmental well-being and economic development for the benefit of the entire Aquidneck Island community. Aquidneck Island municipalities–Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth–share and depend on the same natural resources, yet there is little coordination to jointly manage these resources. CRC’s role has been to create a framework which encourages the Island communities to coordinate decisions concerning land use, transportation and water protection. Results of this coordination includes the implementation of Comprehensive Plans, development of an Aquidneck Island Bikeway map, a report concerning the economic impacts of open space on Aquidneck Island, and training on best management practices to protect drinking water and on land use issues.

Population Status of Harbor Seals in Rhode Island

Cheryl L. Schroeder
Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, RI 02882

The Harbor Seal, Phoca vitulina concolor, is a seasonal resident of Rhode Island waters, migrating to this part of southern New England in late October and residing here until May. Although the historic range of Harbor Seals in the western Atlantic remains unchanged, the distribution and abundance of this animal since the late nineteenth century were detrimentally impacted by fisheries management policies. Prior to the mid 1960′s, little data is available on the historic counts of Harbor Seals in Rhode Island. To assess the Rhode Island population of the Harbor Seal, seasonal censuses have been undertaken intermittently since 1966. These censuses were based largely on volunteer sightings gathered by the public. It was only in 1986 and 1987 that the entire area was concurrently and quantitatively surveyed. Sightings by the public, however, continue to be an important source of seal population estimates in Rhode Island. Data on Harbor Seal strandings along the coast of Rhode Island have been collected for over twenty years. Analysis of the available data indicates that Harbor Seals have been present fairly consistently in Rhode Island waters for the last thirty years. The data show an increasing population trend since the 1980′s.

Learning about Estuarine Environments: The Greenwich Bay Interactive Program

Malia L. Schwartz and Robert Bowen
Rhode Island Sea Grant, URI Bay Campus, Narragansett, RI 02882

Launched in May 1997, the Rhode Island Sea Grant Greenwich Bay Web site has been created to serve as a resource for general audiences on pollution issues and efforts to clean up Greenwich Bay, as well as provide detailed information about a local estuarine system. While designed to describe Greenwich Bay, the site is useful for anyone interested in the marine environment. It describes physical, chemical, and biological aspects of the ecosystem, as well as information on the history of the area and prehistoric peoples. This site appeals to a varied audience: Schools and libraries can use the site to aid in creating lesson plans in estuarine ecology and pollution and management issues; town planners can access the latest research results to help resolve local zoning issues; and researchers working on similar ecosystems around the nation, or even in other nations, can use the site to gain comparative information.

Slater Memorial Park Cultural Survey

Angelo E. Simeoni
Landscape Architecture Program, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881

The Slater Memorial Park Cultural Survey is an experiment in working with Descartes, a mapping software which integrates raster images (scanned airphotos and historic maps) with vector images (Computer Aided Design (CAD) drawings). The integrated images were used to create historic maps. The initial phases of the study involved registering airphotos from 1939 and 1995 on to a vector base map containing the property lines of the existing recreational facility. The aerial photographs were applied as an overlay to vector images. They were stretched, warped, and corrected to meet specific registration points given on the vector base map. Since the Descartes operates inside MicroStation (CAD software), vectors were placed onto the airphoto overlay. These overlays are then analyzed for changes in the landscape character. In the second phase of the study, a comprehensive 1895 survey conducted by F. W. Bowditch, landscape gardener, was scanned and overlaid onto Rhode Island Soils Survey information along with the aerial photographs to create a composite image of the Daggett Farm. This information was also used to study changes in the park landscape over the past 100 years. The topographic information obtained from the 1895 survey was vectorized and converted into 3-d data for the development of a digital terrain map which illustrates the topographic relief as well as wetland alterations over the past 100 years. The information generated from this study will be used for future park development activities and also in various community education programs.

Owls of Rhode Island: A Look at Environmental Education

Bill Tyler
Audubon Society of Rhode Island, 12 Sanderson Road, Smithfield RI 02917

High school students are invited to attend this presentation on owls found in our area. This program will feature a live owl. Students will not only be learning about owls, they will also learn about the field of Environmental Education. Through the use of owls, participants will get a taste of how the Audubon Society of Rhode Island structures and conducts Environmental Education Programs.

A Simple, Safe Immunocytochemical Procedure for Staining Microbial Micrograzers
for Species Identifcation

Aaron Way and Linda A. Hufnagel
Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics,
University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881

Our laboratory has begun to develop methods and procedures for creation of a database characterizing the diverse species of aquatic and soil microbial micrograzers (primarily eukaryotic ciliated protists [Ciliophora]) found in Rhode Island. This database will be in digital form and readily accessible to practitioners of environmental management and conservation, K-12 education, basic and applied research, and natural product prospecting. Ciliated protist species identification depends on characterizing patterns of arrangement of ciliary appendages on these large, complex cells. The major stain for revealing these patterns is the Protargol Method, which is time consuming, requires highly toxic, expensive chemicals and is unreliable for many species. The Protargol stain is difficult to procure, varies from batch to batch and requires extensive experience to use successfully. Protargol mainly stains microtubule-containing structures, including cilia, basal bodies and microtubular ribbons. These structures constitute the main components of the “infraciliature”, whose pattern is used to identify species. To find a procedure that is faster, simpler, cheaper and more reliable, we have begun to explore the use of immunocytochemistry to stain the infraciliature. Since the major component of the infraciliature is the microtubule, we are employing an antibody which recognizes a common epitope of the microtubule protein, a-tubulin. Using the cilioprotist Tetrahymena thermophila as test material, we have developed two protocols that vary only in the type of fixative used. These procedures are fast (5 hrs vs 24 hrs), safe, inexpensive and together reveal many aspects of cell patterning needed for species identification. We are now testing our procedures to see whether they will be applicable to a broad range of laboratory and wild species of cilioprotists.