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Vital Signs, New Species Cards and Summer Success!

October 10th, 2012

By: Sarah Morrisseau, GMRI Vital Signs Program

Maine’s Vital Signs community had an incredible summer with species observations rolling in from China Lake, Long Cove, Narraguagus Bay, Kezar Lake, Horseshoe Pond, Casco Bay, and more! We’re gearing up for the biggest fall field season yet with schools participating from Madawaska to York, Stratton to Baileyville.

From Gulf of Maine Research Institute – Vital Signs, 2012

The community will be using recently updated species ID cards as they take to local freshwater, coastal, and upland ecosystems to tackle Field Missions. For years we have been dreaming of the day when all of our ID card photos and content are generated by Vital Signs participants. We took a first big leap towards that big dream this summer.

35 cards were updated or built from scratch
35 VS participants now have their photos on ID cards (58 new photos total)
13 schools are now noted on species cards for their contributions

Ruthie Hawley, our master intern from Colby College, made these updates happen. This summer she searched the database to find appropriate photos for each species, and updated text as necessary (whenever we see misidentifications happen, we try to figure out how to improve the ID cards to be more helpful).

These cards provide a much improved resource for identification, and represent the statewide Vital Signs effort. Some cards, like Japanese knotweed, now have photos taken by in southern Maine, central Maine, AND northern Maine all on one card! How cool is that?

Check out the cards! …and while you’re cruising the site, please leave a comment for these participants to thank them for their contribution to ensuring great data quality!


orange sheath tunicate, Botrylloides violaceus
photos contributed by C21 (Falmouth MS) and seasaw (Falmouth MS)

green crab, Carcinus maenas
photos contributed by cjt (Biddeford HS) and Julia Beatty (Yarmouth HS)

From Gulf of Maine Research Institute – Vital Signs, 2012


Asian shore crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus
photos contributed by Team Rocket! (Falmouth MS), Rock3 (Loranger MS), and MSK CV (Middle School of the Kennebunks)

Knotted wrack, Ascophyllum nodosum
photos contributed by Rock3 (Loranger MS), Phe Coast (Falmouth MS), Neon Replay (Falmouth MS)

Bladder wrack, Fucus vesiculosus
photos contributed by 029 and 047 (Falmouth MS)

Common periwinkle, Littorina littorea
photos contributed by msk_beach_FM2 (Middle School of the Kennebunks)

Smooth periwinkle, Littorina obtusata
photos contributed by manyeyes

Rough periwinkle, Littorina saxatilis
photos contributed by GMRIAdventureClub

American lobster, Homarus americanus
photos contributed by ibla (Vinalhaven School), MSK_LL (Middle School of the Kennebunks)
sketch contributed by G. Nisbet (King MS)


Japanese knotweed, Fallopia japonica
photos contributed by 51JD71 (Massabesic MS), potassium (James F Doughty MS), and shamcd16 (Madawaska MS)

Giant knotweed, Fallopia sachalinensis
photos contributed by gbh

Lupine, Lupinus polyphyllus
photos contributed by parkway5 (Camden-Rockport MS), Bluehillgardener,Lamontagne (Biddeford HS), and bandl1663 (Madawaska MS)

Common reed, Phragmites australis
photos contributed by Ruth Maclean (King MS) and 031 (Falmouth MS)

Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica
content and photos contributed by 7HW2 (Massabesic MS)

Cow parsnip, Heracleum maximum
photos contributed by LeafPeeper

Multiflora rose, Rosa multiflora
photos contributed by TimSeed (Waynflete Lower School), invasive upland(Loranger MS), HadwinRachelBradley (Hebron Academy), manyeyes

From Gulf of Maine Research Institute – Vital Signs, 2012


Black swallowwort, Cynanchum louiseae
photos contributed by gbh


Variable watermilfoil, Myriophyllum heterophyllum
photos contributed by rchawley, the Wild Carrot

Little floating heart, Nymphoides cordata
photos contributed by EyesOnTheWater

Spatterdock, Nuphar variegata
photos contributed by EyesOnTheWater

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