This week: June 28, 2024 - NBRC - Installation for New Officers

Clarence Hickey – Periodical Cicadas in 2021: An Intersection of Natural History and Human History

Posted on January 29th

Montgomery County is a very ethnically and culturally diverse community. This is one of our great strengths. Montgomery County also has some lesser known, yet very numerous, native residents, the 17-year periodical cicadas that visited us with great gusto in 1987 and 2004. They are expected to be with us again in the spring of 2021. The reappearance of the periodicals, on schedule, every 17 years suggests a certain measure of stability in our local environment, a natural sign for us. These cicadas are not dangerous. They do not sting or bite and carry no diseases. They do not eat our vegetation and gardens. They tend to be very numerous, and plague-like at times. When these periodical cicadas appear and are so numerous, they offer wonderful opportunities for observing and studying nature, right in our own backyards and neighborhoods. Cicadas require trees for their life cycle and survival. Without trees, there are no cicadas, and without trees in our neighborhoods, our quality of life would be less. Trees also help to sequester or remove carbon from the atmosphere and thus combat climate change. So, we have something very much in common with our cicada friends, we both need trees! This PowerPoint lecture will demonstrate the intersection of cicada natural history and human history. An example will be a focus on cicadas in Bethesda during 1987. The studies of Benjamin Banneker on periodical cicadas during the 1700s in Maryland will lay the cornerstone for the historical progression of the cicadas every 17 years since then. As we look ahead to this spring of 2021, welcome these native Montgomery Countians back into our neighborhoods.

Clarence Hickey holds a Master of Science degree in marine biology from Long Island University. His master’s thesis research studied the blood physiology of fish from Long Island’s estuarine waters, and was published in part in the New Your Fish and Game Journal in 1976, and in the Transactions of the American Fisheries Society in 1983. Clarence lived in Amagansett during 1970-1975 when he worked as a marine biologist on the staff of the New York Ocean Science Laboratory on Montauk. In the early and mid- 1970s, Clarence spent uch time at sea aboard many vessels, including the NOAA Research Vessel Albatross IV, stationed in Woods Hole, MA.

Clarence is a member of several scientific societies and associations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi The Scientific Research Society, the American Fisheries Society, and the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists. He has more than 150 publications in scientific and conservation journals, magazines, newsletters, technical and government reports, and newspapers.

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