Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cape Cod Natural History Conference March 12, 2011

Ocean Sunfish Presentation at the 16th Annual Cape Cod Natural History Conference.

Today Tammy Silva and Krill Carson presented NECWA's findings on ocean sunfish strandings on Cape Cod beaches from 2008 - 2010 at the 16th Annual Cape Cod Natural History Conference. This conference is sponsored by Mass Audubon at Wellfleet Bay and is one of the nicest community-based conferences held in the state. Each March, Mass Audubon puts together a wide variety of presentations that focus on the geology, history and biology of Cape Cod. And each year the conference gets better and better with more exciting talks and posters presented by scientists, researchers, students and professionals within the community.

Thanks to Tammy Silva for all her work on this presentation. She did an amazing job of putting the presentation together and presenting the findings at this conference. Thanks also to Nick Schomburg, Patty Grace and Caitlyn Dionne for their help at the conference in terms of manning NECWA's educational table. Tammy, Nick, Patty and Caitlyn have all participated in ocean sunfish strandings and we thank them for their time and efforts this year and in past years.

And a big thank you to Bob Prescott and the staff of Mass Audubon at Wellfleet Bay for their support with this project over the years. Bob and Krill conducted the first ocean sunfish necropsies in 2008 and from this work, they established the protocols and procedures used by NECWA today.

Through NECWA' s activities since this project began in 2005, we have collected the largest database on stranded ocean sunfish in the western North Atlantic. However, we could not have accomplished all we have without the help of many other organizations, colleagues, friends as well as the general public. Big thank you to Dr. John Jahoda from Bridgewater State University and Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours (

Thanks also to Cape Cod Consultants (Don Lewis and Susan Nourse) for all their help and assistance over the years. Don and Susan are always great at contacting NECWA about ocean sunfish strandings and providing information on those carcasses that NECWA can not access.

Thanks also to the staff of the IFAW Marine Mammal Research and Research program and to the Cape Cod Canal Ranger, DNR and DEC for passing along ocean sunfish stranding information to NECWA from their staff, members and public volunteers.

And thanks to all the NECWA staff, interns and volunteers who have assisted with this project over the years including: Maya Jaklitsch, Nick Schomburg, Cory Heston, Tammy Silva, Ann Cook, Patty Grace, Caitlyn Dionne, Leah Horeanopoulos, Marianne Barrette, Belinda Rubinstein, Rick Buker, Dominica Webster and Bob Edgren.

And a big thanks to all the NECWA supporters and the general public, including Owen Nichols, Phil Kyle, Greg McGrath and the many others who have taken the time to report sightings of live and dead animals and to assist with stranding activities. If I forgot to mention anyone, please forgive me and send me an email reminding me of your involvement.

Help us continue to discover the wonders and beauty of the ocean sunfish by reporting your sightings, both live and dead, on the beach and offshore, to the NEBShark website. Go to and input your sightings to help us learn more about the biology and ecology of this very unusual and amazing coastal pelagic fish.

Thank you!