The Vascular Flora of Little Duck Island

Plants play a vital role in shaping the ecology of the undeveloped Maine coast because they both affect and are affected by the unique physical and biotic features of this region. By better understanding plant life in the Maine coastal communities, we can better appreciate the multitude of other ecological features of the region. The major step towards achieving this goal is to inventory the plants and create a checklist that can aid in further research. A checklist can also identify previously unrecorded plant species, helping impart a better understanding of the biotic diversity of a region.

Little Duck Island (LDI), about 8 miles south of Mount Desert Island (MDI), is one of a handful of botanically unexplored islands off of the coast of Maine. With the assistance of fellow College of the Atlantic (COA) student Matthew Dickinson and grants from the Garden Club of America as well as the NASA Maine Space Grant Consortium, I inventoried the vascular plants of LDI during the summer of 2010. The data includes a collection of over 200 pressed voucher specimens, 67 plots describing the percent cover of each species within a 2x10m area, soil samples from each plot—soon to be sent for analysis, and other observational data such as a checklist of birds, a count of gull and cormorant nests, and notes on various patterns relating to the ecology of the island. I will use the data in the following terms at COA to compile a report that describes the natural history of LDI, including a complete inventory of the flora. This report will provide resources for further studies of this and other islands on the Maine coast.

Dr. Nishi Rajakaruna will act as my primary advisor for this project.

Anticipated Products:

Complete list of vascular plants on LDI

Compilation of plot data into a simple, understandable format

Key to the vascular plants of LDI

Several maps describing the natural communities and soils of LDI

A “guide book” with stories of the summer experience and suggestions and tips for future plant inventory expeditions

A peer-reviewed paper intended for publication in Rhodora

Luka Negoita conducting field research on Little Duck Island


Mailing Address: 105 Eden Street, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

In the News

Garden Club Federation of Maine Scholarship

Research Grants

  • Garden Club of America Summer Scholarship in Field Botany (2010): “The Vascular Flora of Little Duck Island, Maine” Principal investigators: Negoita, L. and Rajakaruna, N. $2000
  • NASA Maine Space Grant Consortium (2010): “The Vascular Flora of Little Duck Island, Maine” Principal investigators: Negoita, L. and Rajakaruna, N. $2500

Other Awards and Recognitions

–          Rothschild Student Faculty Collaborative Scholarship (2010) $350

–          National Garden Club Federation Scholarship (2010) $3500

–          St. Croix District Garden Club Nell Goff Memorial Scholarship (2010)     $1000

–          GCFM Horticulture Scholarship (2010) $3000

–          Beinecke Internship Stipend Award (2009) $250

–          Nominated for Goldwater Scholarship (2009)

–          Craig Greene Memorial Scholarship of excellence in botany (2009) $3,000

–          Josselyn Botanical Society Summer Meeting scholarship recipient (2008)

See Luka’s Current CV

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