Coral in the Bay?

Female and Male cadet in lab

Yes. In Little Buttermilk Bay – the Academy’s back yard. Students conducting field work for the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Environmental Monitoring class discovered a northern “stone” coral reef in upper Buzzards Bay. The stone coral is not common, especially in high densities in shallow waters. This accumulation of Astrangia poculata, called stone or cup coral, has been named Jaroslow Reef in memory of the students’ favorite oceanographer, Dr. Gary Jaroslow.

More recently, Professor Bill Hubbard and 3/C Nikki Shattuck were able to actually map Jaroslow reef, an area covering about 1.2 acres. Coral samples from the Jaroslow Reef have been retrieved and a flow through coral tank system has been set up in the MMA Aquaculture and Marine Sciences (AMS) Laboratory on the Taylor Point campus. The system will allow coral research throughout the winter and potentially grow more specimens for transplanting next year. Shattuck, a graduate of North Attleboro High School (MA), is currently a Marine Science, Safety and Environmental Protection major. “I have been a student marine ecologist and lab technician in the Aquaculture and Marine Science Laboratory for the past two years here at Mass Maritime. My position includes overseeing the multiple live tanks we have that contain various species of fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. My main focus is the northern rock coral, she reported. “I was lucky enough to be part of the last group of MSSEP students to travel to St. John with Dr. Jaroslow. His passion for teaching and expressing the importance of conservation was incredibly inspirational to me. It is only fitting that the recently discovered coral reef in Little Buttermilk Bay was named after him,” she said.

In agreement … and … also closely tending this unusual project is 3/C Nolan Bradley … another MSEP major. This cadet is a 2016 graduate of Nipmuc Regional High School (Upton, MA). “Currently I work as a student marine biologist and lab technician, minding the coral and other projects, at the Aquaculture Laboratory at Mass Maritime. The hands-on experience that I’m getting from this job is really equipping me with the tools I will need to pursue a career in the environmental field. I plan to follow a path that will lead me into Environmental Protection and conservation,” he reported. Both cadets are not only crazy about this coral but they are avid fans of the Academy experience. Bradley summed it up as follows, “Being a part of a regiment and dealing with the rigorous academics sets up all cadets for success after graduation, no matter what field they decide to pursue. If you want to have a successful career and have the tools … and EXPERIENCE to be an employable person, Mass Maritime is a perfect choice.”