The sandy shoals of Muskeget Island are familiar to boaters and fishermen who ply the waters between Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, but the island’s rich ecological history may be less well known.

Next Tuesday, March 12, Muskeget’s longtime owner and steward, Crocker Snow Jr., will visit the Vineyard Gazette newsroom to talk about the island’s shifting plant and animal populations and the forces of man and nature that have shaped them.

Mr. Snow, a journalist and former director of the Edward R. Murrow School of Public Diplomacy at Tufts, has been exploring, researching and writing about Muskeget since childhood. His father, an aviation pioneer, bought the 250-acre island, once an elite duck hunting refuge, in 1949. Today he co-owns the island with the town of Nantucket, which helped him secure a conservation restriction for Muskeget in 2009. The island was named a National Natural Landmark in 1980.

Mr. Snow has charted the many changes that have occurred on Muskeget over six decades, much of it caused directly and indirectly by acts of man. Among other things, he has chronicled the decline over years of terns and gulls and the staggering increase in gray seals. Surrounded by shallow water and therefore protected from sharks, Muskeget is now the largest gray seal breeding colony in the country, attracting thousands of mating seals in the winter. One effect of this new population has been to crowd another longtime resident of the island, the Muskeget vole, a species found nowhere else.

Tuesdays in the Newsroom is a monthly speaker series sponsored by the Vineyard Gazette in the off-season. Admission is free to subscribers of the Vineyard Gazette; non-subscribers pay $10 at the door. Space is limited; advance registration is required at

Doors open at 5:15 p.m. for a brief reception prior to the program, which begins at 5:30 p.m.