Natural Communities. Ecologist Robert Zaremba has recently documented current plant species to assess the quality of Tuckernuck's natural communities. A natural community is comprised of a group of plants and animals associated with an area of particular vegetative species and structure. For example, sandplain grasslands and maritime forest are both natural communities. Four wetland species never before recorded for Tuckernuck, and one species not observed since 1910, were documented during Bob's 2008 survey for the Tuckernuck Land Trust. The health of Tuckernuck's natural communities establishes a base of support for the island's wildlife and increases the potential for species diversity. With no paved roads or public utilities, minimal disturbance has occurred and the Island's natural areas have largely been spared intrusion of invasive species.

 

Collaborative support of researchers. Since 2004 multi-year studies to inventory and monitor the biodiversity of Tuckernuck and its sister islands has been funded by the Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative, a coalition of local conservation and education organizations of which the Tuckernuck Land Trust is a member. Inventories and more in-depth research have revealed new information on taxa previously given little attention, including:

Documenting, during a preliminary inventory, three lichen species considered to be old-growth indicators and now primarily restricted to mature stands in New England; 


Inventorying fungi, essential organisms which decompose organic materials and supply nutrients to many plants;

      

Deciphering what ecological factors may be contributing to the unusually large and recently discovered populations of northern black widow spiders and red-legged purseweb spiders;

 

Determining whether the distinct color patterns of island garter snakes is due to adaptive camouflage reflective of coastal habitats.