Perhaps you saw this strange looking vessel zooming over the pond a few years ago. It was IRIS (Independently (or) Remotely Influenced Surveyor) from the USGS Woods Hole Science Center scanning and mapping the Pond’s surficial sediment distribution and thickness. Oyster Pond contains a very special sedimentary record of past hurricane strikes dating back about 2300 years.
Jeff Donnelly, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, is heading up a team studying this sediment record to look at the impact of catastrophic hurricanes and fire on New England’ pine/scrub oak forest ecosystem. It is hoped that understanding how these ecosytems have historically responded to these events will help policy makers anticipate and plan for changes such as nutrient and sediment flux into adjacent water bodies.