Martha's Vineyard Atlas of LifeResourcesArticles and Reports

Articles and Reports


Vineyard Wildlife Inventories and Ecological Research

Migration and Foraging of Leatherback Turtles

An article published on February 20, 2024, in Frontiers of Marine Science presents startlingly detailed information on the movements of Leatherback Turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) along the East Coast. The research team – Mitchell J. Rider, Larisa Avens, Heather L. Haas, Joshua M. Hatch, Samir H. Patel, and Christopher R. Sasso – analyzed satellite transmitter data from 52 leatherbacks tagged between 2017 and 2022, inferring not just locations but details of foraging behavior such as depth and dive duration. The Nantucket Shoals, and in some years Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds, emerged as critical feeding areas for this reptile, which can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds and is listed as “Endangered” under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

MV Pollinator Pathway Interim Report

In collaboration with the Betsy and Jesse Fink Family Foundation and eight Martha’s Vineyard farms, the Martha’s Vineyard Atlas of Life is conducting a three-year pilot project to enhance pollinator diversity on agricultural lands by augmenting floral resources for certain pollinators. While we’re interested in pollinators of all kinds, the project’s main focus is on certain bee species – pollen specialists we believe to be scarce or declining on Martha’s Vineyard. An interim report prepared in August 2022 summarizes the goals and methods of the project, presents some highlights of results so far, and offers some tentative recommendations for flowers that show promise for supporting pollinators generally or rare or specialized bees in particular.

Ecology of Coastal Salt Ponds: a Pilot Study at Long Point Wildlife Refuge

A landmark 2001 study prepared by Wendy Culbert and Lloyd Raleigh for The Trustees of Reservations. Despite its age, its land use history, biological inventories, and explanations of salt pond ecology keep this report relevant.

Oligolectic Bees at Long Point Wildlife Refuge 2023

This study conducted by the Martha’s Vineyard Atlas of Life looked at the status and ecology of several infrequently observed oligolectic (pollen-specialist) bees at Long Point Wildlife Refuge, owned and managed by The Trustees of Reservations. Results suggest that Long Point is a site of regional significance for the conservation of specialized bees.

Oak Diversity and Ecology on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard

Oaks (the genus Quercus) dominate almost all of the wooded landscape on Martha’s Vineyard. Oak seeds (acorns) are an important food source for mammals, birds, and even some insects; the leaves and wood of oaks support an incredible invertebrate diversity, including many of the rare moth species for which the Vineyard is famous. Tim Boland, Executive Director of Polly Hill Arboretum, wrote this summary of Vineyard oak diversity and importance, published in 2011 in International Oaks, the journal of the International Oak Society.


Wildlife Study Methods

Collecting and Preserving Insects and Mites: Techniques and Tools

Edited by M. E. Schauff for the National Museum of Natural History, this guide is a valuable resource for anyone interested in starting and curating an insect collection for serious scientific study.

Guidelines for Ethical Field Research on Rare Plant Species

Prepared by botanist Elizabeth Farnsworth for the New England Wildflower Society in 2005, this document offers valuable guidance for anyone interested in low-impact study of plant life.