Authors speak on “Island Life”


Who would have guessed that 82 species of spiders, at least 463 species of moths, 201 saltwater fish and one lamprey have been recorded on and around our Island? These were among the fascinating bits of information Allan Keith and Stephen Spongberg shared with an interested audience at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum Saturday afternoon. The two authors, both passionate scientists, have just released “Island Life: A Catalog of the Biodiversity On and Around Martha’s Vineyard”. This impressive reference work is not only a complete catalog of the recorded flora and fauna of Martha’s Vineyard but it also describes the Island’s geological history and fossil records. Mr. Keith took us on a quick trip from coastal plane to island and dashed through human history with interesting anecdotes and stories. The richness of the Island’s natural resources and history is truly impressive — and fragile. The effects of introducing a single alien species, such as the skunk, can be devastating and lasting.This book is not only a testament to the Vineyard’s extraordinary diversity but it is also a call to action. Mr. Spongberg, former director of Polly Hill Arboretum, said he hopes the book will inspire people to go out into the field and look for all these animals and plants. Are they still here? Do they need protection? What needs to be done to help steward positive changes for our island?The lecture concluded with a reception and book signing.