Grand Isle Port Commission hosts Biology students from the University of Louisiana Monroe

University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM) professors, Dr. Kim Marie Tolson and Dr. John Carr, spent a week in June instructing ten Field Biology class students on conducting surveys for plants and animals on various properties in Grand Isle.

“Our fieldwork in Grand Isle introduced our students to the process of field sampling, data collection, and animal and plant identification,” said Kim Marie Tolson, Professor of Biology and Director, ULM Museum of Natural History. “Graduate students gained valuable leadership skills directing the undergraduates. It allowed all students to apply the knowledge they have acquired in the classroom to a situation similar to what practicing field biologists may experience. Students will turn in a report on the trapping techniques and the results of their efforts.”

ULM students conducted small mammal population research using small Sherman live traps to capture and release specimens on the port’s property, which includes marsh and mangroves along Barataria Bay, adjacent to the oyster hatchery and kayak launch. They set up traps baited with sunflower seeds and checked them twice a day. All of the rodents captured were identified, recorded, and released. Students also conducted surveys for mammals, reptiles and amphibians on The Nature Conservancy property, and shorebird surveys on State Park property to hone the student’s shorebird identification skills.

“The Grand Isle Port Commission welcomed this opportunity to assist and support the biology education system,” said Weldon Danos, executive director of the Grand Isle Port Commission. “It was a pleasure providing a location for these college students to perform their sampling process, along with the Grand Isle Nature Conservancy and State Park. We were also glad that our island provided students a unique environment to conduct research and enjoy their summer.”

Located on Louisiana’s only inhabited barrier island, the Grand Isle Port Commission regulates commerce and traffic at Grand Isle’s port. The island is a hub for the petroleum industry, commercial fisheries and tourism, and the Port serves to promote safety and commerce of Grand Isle and the surrounding waters. The Port offers access for nature lovers to explore Grand Isle via a kayak launch and a trail through a mangrove marsh. More information at