• Lush vegetation on the top of Spectacle Island's North drumlin dominates the foreground. Boston's skyline can be seen in the distance.  The park's logo with tag line minutes away, worlds apart empashises the stark contrast between the city and islands.

    Boston Harbor Islands

    National Recreation Area Massachusetts

Exploring the Microwilderness

Dr. Jessica Rykken
Dr. Jessica Rykken
Museum of Comparative Zoology
Harvard University
26 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 496-1221
e-mail author
 
Delivered at 2008 Boston Harbor Islands Science Symposium.

The Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University and the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership are collaborating to conduct an All-Taxa biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) of Boston Harbor Islands. In its first phase, the project focuses on the "microwilderness" of the islands, namely, insects and other arthropods. This extremely diverse group of animals is easily sampled, yet often overlooked.

Primary objectives of the first phase of this ATBI are to:
  1. catalog the arthropod fauna across Boston Harbor Islands;
  2. engage, educate, and excite the public about biodiversity on a very local scale through outreach and educational activities; and
  3. use biodiversity data to inform park resource management.
Products such as a web-accessible database with images of all species, biodiversity posters, a card game, arthropod displays, and educational curricula, in addition to activities such as volunteer surveys and public collecting events all contribute to the goal of fostering appreciation for the biodiversity that exists in this very human-influenced landscape. Research projects conducted by undergraduate and graduate students are making a significant contribution to the scientific and educational goals of the ATBI, and data from many of these projects will have practical application for park management.

Did You Know?

The French warship Magnifique

Lovells Island in Boston Harbor National Recreation Area is the site of the park's most notorious shipwreck. On August 15, 1782 a historic French seventy-four gun warship, Magnifique, crashed along the rocky shore rumored to be carrying long-lost treasure. More...