Research at LLNF

Research at the Linda Loring Nature Foundation focuses on studies that promote our mission to preserve, protect, and understand Nantucket's biologically diverse ecosystems. To that aim, our research program includes in-house studies on the island’s flora and fauna while also supporting the research of others who use the LLNF property as a “living laboratory”. We collaborate on innovative studies both on and off-island broadening our scientific reach.

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Phenology - field observations

LLNF uses the National Phenology Network protocols to investigate how some of our native species are responding to changes in climate. Since 2014 we have been tracking eight species of common, native shrubs, the native eastern tent caterpillar, and (since 2018) the state-listed Sandplain Blue-eyed Grass.

LLNF data are part of the National Phenology Network.

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Pollinators in xeric grasslands

The LLNF is part of a regional pollinator project investigating pollinator diversity in xeric grasslands throughout the Atlantic coast. This regional network of experimental adaptive management sites was established in 2018 with funding awarded through the Northeast Regional Conservation Needs Program. This group will coordinate management and monitoring of native pollinators and their habitats leading to management improvements over time.

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Snake diversity

The Nantucket Snake Consortium (NSC) is a collaborative group that works to study the diversity of native snakes on Nantucket. Working island-wide with other conservation groups, we can answer more questions about snake diversity, snake health, and conservation of native species.

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grazing and browsing exclusion

LLNF established a deer exclosure study as part of an effort to understand what is shaping the plant communities on the property. LLNF hosts a very healthy population of white-tailed deer. Their grazing and winter browsing are part of what “manages” the landscape.

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phenology - twig Warming

To complement our field phenology observations, LLNF conducts winter twig experiments. Since 2017, these experiments have been used to mimic earlier and earlier spring-like temperatures, as predicted in our region with global climate change. These experiments have also been used in our volunteer and educational programs.

Check out a 2018 scientific poster describing this research.

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Sandplain grassland network

LLNF helped to found the Sandplain Grassland Network (SGN) in 2016. The SGN is a regional partnership among researchers and managers that formed to advance understanding and effectiveness of the management of sandplain grasslands. The SGN shares methods and understanding gained from experiences with managing grasslands across the region as well as through extensive literature reviews (published and gray literature). Check out the SGN website and guidance document.

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rare species monitoring

We monitor populations of rare and endangered species on a regular schedule throughout our property at LLNF. In some cases, we also protect plants from deer browse and other hazards. All occurrence information is reported to the Mass Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program.

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Sandplain Blue-eyed grass

Beginning in 2019, LLNF will undertake a new demographic study of Sandplain Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium fuscatum). This state-listed species of special concern occurs throughout the LLNF property, making it an ideal spot for observation and study.


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Questions about our research programs?

Research at the Linda Loring Nature Foundation is led by the Director of Research and Education, Dr. Sarah Bois. Feel free to reach out to her with questions, research interests, and opportunities for collaboration. stbois@llnf.org