One of my favorite Megadeth albums and songs, although that’s for another time. The title also fits for a handful of species from a group particularly close to my heart – seagrasses. Seagrasses made the news recently, as a recent report suggest as many as 10 of the 72 known seagrass species are at risk of extinction. And since this blog is named in honor of seagrass, I thought I might delve in, as I have made many seagrass related posts in the past.
Global Seagrass Distribution - from FLMNH
I probably don’t have to tell those of you who follow my blog how important seagrasses are for coastal ecosystems. Seagrasses can be found in all oceans around the globe – from the tropics and temperate zones into the Arctic (see Dr Fred Short’s website for more info and a number of useful powerpoint slides). Everywhere they occur, they provide a variety of ecosystem services – from oxygenation of the water and sediments, stabilization of the sediments, dampening of flow, help to maintain water quality, provide nursery and spawning grounds for numerous species, and are a direct food resource for a number of species. Most of my attention has been on the habitat value of seagrasses – important for a number of commercially important finfish, such as cod, and shellfish, such as my study organism the bay scallop. And much of the literature has focused on these aspects as well.
Causes for Seagrass Decline - From Orth et al 2006
However, despite the overall importance of seagrasses, they are continuing to decline on a global scale, mainly due to anthropogenic causes. Worldwide, seagrasses have declined by at least 30%, a rather alarming figure. Seagrasses typically grow close to shore – so these areas are dynamic to begin with. However, these near coastal zones are typically sites of development and use. While there are natural threats to seagrasses – overgrazing, storm events, disease – the majority of seagrass loss comes at the hands of humans either directly or indirectly. Some direct sources of loss include reckless boating, destructive fishing practices (such as trawling, dredging, raking and tonging), shoreline hardening, docks, and channel dredging. However, perhaps more important are indirect – nutrient overloading and eutrophication shifts ecosystems to water column production, increasing phytoplankton which in turn shades out seagrass. Likewise, overharvesting of filter feeding bivalves has reduced filtration capacity of basins, leading similarly to high phytoplankton and low light. Additionally, climate change, and the resultant increase in water temperature, can cause severe stress in many seagrass species.
Consequences of eutrophication on seagrass
Because seagrasses are so important, it has been the focus of our lab’s research. While I have focused much of my research on the impact of changing eelgrass landscape, as well as alternative habitats, on bay scallops, my first ever research project was investigating the ability of hard clams to facilitate eelgrass growth in a light-stressed environment. In a series of experiments, we tested the degree in which light and nutrients limit eelgrass productivity along an estuarine gradient and investigated the ability of hard clams to facilitate eelgrass growth in ambient and light limiting conditions. Not surprisingly, the farther away from the ocean inlet we went, the higher the phytoplankton and the lower the light reaching the bottom. This lead to a decrease in eelgrass productivity along this estuarine gradient. However, using an in situ shading and nutrient addition experiment, we were able to show hard clam facilitation of seagrass growth, even under light stress. However, since the grass was artificially shaded, the mechanism for increasing seagrass productivity in the shade treatments was via the clams ability to increase the sediment nutrient pool, which was reflected in the seagrass tissues. We published this work in MEPS.
However, many other lab members have also done seagrass research. In fact, we like to call ourselves the Peterson Seagrass Rangers. Current student Amber Stubler, who you may remember did a guest blog post on Chronicles, conducted numerous field and lab experiments investigating multiple stressors on eelgrass growth – light, temperature and sediment sulfide concentration – before she started in her current sponge work. Another current student, Brad Furman, is investigating landscape properties of eelgrass meadows and patch persistence over time. Former student Brooke Rodgers investigated harmful herbicides in groundwater on eelgrass growth and survival. Finally, former student Jamie Brisbin conducted a thorough investigation of eelgrass population genetics of Long Island waters (don’t ask me to give more detail, because I don’t understand genetics all that well). So our collective lab is essentially investigating many reasons for and consequences of decline of seagrasses around Long Island, NY.
That’s why this latest manuscript was so interesting. The Biological Conservation manuscript by Fred Short and others, published online, includes a veritable who’s – who of world seagrass experts. Because seagrasses are so important, numerous studies have investigated their decline worldwide. This new article looks at these studies and determines the probability of extinction using guidelines from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Using criteria from the Red List of Threatened Species, the authors determined that 10 of 72 seagrass species – 14% – are at risk of extinction.
Method for determining risk from Short et al
Taking a database of existing seagrass literature, the authors used 2 main criteria for determining extinction risk and vulnerability. Criteria A examines population decline over time and Criteria B is based on geographic range. Out of the 72 species investigated, 3 could be listed as endangered already. Seven more species were listed as vulnerable due to increased declines in populations. An additional 5 species were listed as Near Threatened by the two criteria. On the other hand, 48 species were listed as Least Concern, meaning that currently, they are not likely to go extinct. That doesn’t tell the whole story, however, as most of the Least Concern species are wide-ranging. So despite being of Least Concern, many of these species are locally threatened, as declines of many of these species are occurring at a local scale.
There also appears to be global patterns in threatened and declining seagrass species. 22% of the seagrass species found in the temperate North Pacific are threatened, with an additional 17% near threatened – with up to 100% of seagrass species in some areas of this region experiencing decline. The tropical Indo-Pacific has 11% of its species threatened. In contrast, none of the 5 species of seagrass found in the temperate North Atlantic have received a threatened status – but again, this may be misleading. Despite no species listed as threatened, on the local level, many of these species are disappearing.
Distribution and decline of seagrasses - Short et al
The manuscript goes on to name some of the threats to seagrass species – many of which I have already listed. But in order to create more awareness, I will name more here. They found that the most common threat to seagrass is humans – 67 species are affected by some anthropogenic impacts. Again, and I can’t make this point more clear, the MOST COMMON THREAT TO SEAGRASS IS HUMANS. Among them, decreases in water clarity and quality due to nutrient overloading – leading to phytoplankton and nuisance algal blooms – and sediment loading – increasing suspended sediments and siltation. Beds are also destroyed by coastal construction, shoreline hardening, and dredging, destructive fishing practices, and mechanical damage due to boats. Invasive species also pose threats to seagrasses. Oh yeah, and climate change, whose potential impact is just starting to be understood.
So what are the recommendations? After all, seagrasses are vital components of coastal ecosystems, and need to be saved, if possible. Poor water quality/clarity is the major threat. Ameliorating this water quality issue is the best way to decrease stress on seagrass and hopefully reverse the trend. Unfortunately, it is likely easier said than done. Efforts to reduce run-off, nutrient and sediment loading need to be undertaken to help increase water quality. In developed countries, we can combat this by stricter rules on fertilizer use and coastal development, as well as increasing the use of tertiary treatment at sewage treatment plants and restoring filter feeding species. In developing nations, this can be done via education and encouragement of eco-tourism as a revenue source, let them know keeping their environments pristine is a great way to generate money for the economy. Additional conservation and restoration efforts are necessary, like those on Long Island and Virginia.
Carroll, J, Gobler, CJ, & Peterson,BJ (2008). Resource-restricted growth of eelgrass in New York estuaries: light limitation, and alleviation of nutrient stress by hard clams Marine Ecology Progress Series DOI: 10.3354/meps07593
ORTH, R., CARRUTHERS, T., DENNISON, W., DUARTE, C., FOURQUREAN, J., HECK, K., HUGHES, A., KENDRICK, G., KENWORTHY, W., OLYARNIK, S., SHORT, F., WAYCOTT, M., & WILLIAMS, S. (2006). A Global Crisis for Seagrass Ecosystems BioScience, 56 (12) DOI: 10.1641/0006-3568(2006)56[987:AGCFSE]2.0.CO;2
Well I finally picked up a copy of the this month’s National Geographic with the artificial reef article in it. And by picked up I mean borrowed from a waiting room, but I have to go back on Thursday and will return it then, so I am no thief. Anyway, I briefly blogged about this article already when I was depressed about winter weather and longing to be someplace else, preferably warm, and diving. That’s because I love diving. And sometimes, there’s nothing better than diving on wrecks. Sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of cool things to see on naturally occurring bottom. But artificial reefs created by wrecks are definitely very cool (so is this video).
Image from Pangea-yep.com
But actually reading the article, in print, and seeing the pictures, made me want to blog about it all over again. This time, though, I will concentrate a little more on artificial reefs themselves. Artificial reefs are quite simply structures artificially sunk by man to create a hard bottom in an otherwise sandy and structure-less habitat. The idea is to mimic some of the functions of naturally occurring reefs – namely, by providing a hard, 3-dimensional structure that sits in the water column. These reefs are intended to attract and enhance many marine species, in particular, finfish. In fact, fisherman have been sinking things for decades (probably even centuries) to attract fish, so this is not a particularly novel idea. However, the number and magnitude of artificial reefs has certainly expanded greatly in recent years (Edit – as Dr Alan Dove pointed out in the comments below, there have been numerous “natural” or unintentional wrecks sunk over the years. So the rate of sinking artificial reefs might not have increased, but I imagine the rate of intentionally sunk reefs has). Typically, “Artificial reefs” just consisted of junk. Now, many have expanded to be large decommissioned ships, subway cars, and oil rigs (and other cool things). And even more recently, companies are creating artificial reefs from concrete, such as Reef Balls, which I think are pretty cool (and, if you are lucky, when you die, you can be commemorated for eternity as an artificial reef ball! Sign me up!).
It might not happen over night, but eventually these sunken structures become teeming with life. Swirling currents around these structures can kick up and contain plankton, which attracts small planktivorous fish. These little guys, in turn, attract larger piscivorous fish. In addition to seeking food, many fish arrive simply to seek shelter in the many nooks and crannies that artificial reefs provide. But its not just fish. The artificial structures also become colonized by invertebrates and macroalgae, creating a crusty layer of living organisms growing as a living shell of sorts on the submerged structure. This living structure offers more nooks and crannies for smaller creatures, and provides food for numerous species that inhabit the reef. It essentially becomes just like a natural, living reef, with the only difference being that the underlying structure is man-made. Typically, when we think of artificial reefs, we think of tropical locations. However, they are also used in many temperate coastal waters to enhance fisheries, including Maryland, South Carolina and New Jersey. Here, they create ecosystem structure typically only present on the few limestone rocky outcroppings that stick out of the sand bottoms.
Despite providing food and shelter to numerous species, there are certainly detractors, and artificial reefs aren’t without certain cons. One major concern is that some things are just tossed in the ocean as junk, but that companies/organizations/municipalities/entities use the “artificial reef” moniker as an excuse to dump crap. Its cheaper to just toss things into the water than dispose on land, and so sometimes, things are called reefs just as an excuse. That is bad. Additionally, many things that are sunk have toxic substances on them, which can actually do more harm to the environment, leaking contaminants for the life of the reef. It is for these reasons that there are now strict, stringent regulations for sinking artificial reefs.
But one of the biggest complaints against artificial reefs is the very reason they are created in the first place – they concentrate fish. The complaint is that these concentrations make fish easier targets for fishermen, and can be potentially harmful to specific species. According to the NatGeo article, some biologists believe that this artificial enhancement of certain fishes, can be extremely detrimental to stocks. One such fish that is likely being negatively impacted by artificial reef structures is the red snapper, which concentrate around the structures and become easy targets for fishermen. In other words, these artificial reefs might make fishing as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. Obviously, acting as fish attractants with easy access can be harmful to fish populations, and some might argue that recreational fishermen are quite capable of decimating fish stocks, even in the absence of commercial fishing pressure
Clearly there are pros and cons of artificial reefs. However, it is my opinion that the pros outweigh the cons. And an easy way to eliminate the major negative impact of artificial reefs – the potential to overfish exploited stocks due to large congregations of target species around these structures – is to incorporate reefs into marine reserves and no-take zones. Yes, this might defeat the purpose of the reefs, and many will argue against this. I am not suggesting all artificial reefs become no take zones, but by leaving some as no take refuges, the reefs could serve there original purposes. While there is some debate as to the usefulness of marine reserves on highly mobile species, it stands to reason that artificial reefs create habitat where there is otherwise none, and enhances the local ecology of the area of the reef, enhancing species abundance and diversity. Plus, they are just awesome to dive on.
Editor’s Selection IconWell I haven’t done a Research Blogging post in a very long time. But I was inspired by this news release I read today about crabs spilling onto the Antarctic peninsula with warming waters. On a recent voyage to Antarctica, marine biologists collected digital images of these deep water predators moving closer to shallow coastal waters which have been excluded from for potentially millions of years, because the shallow coastal waters, until recently, have been too cold to support these predators. This can be devastating to the coastal shelf community in Antarctica, which has adapted no defenses in the absence of these predators – many organisms here have thin shells or don’t burrow into sediments.
My friend and fellow Southampton College alum, Molly, recently blogged about this issue. She is currently doing graduate work at the University of Alaska Fairbanks on snow crabs, so she loves crabs (as her blog title suggests). The idea is that, as the above article states, these crabs are moving closer to the Antarctic shelf, and this can have devastating impacts on the local fauna there. It was highlighted in a National Geographic article in 2008.
According to research, the Antarctic coastal shelf experienced a cooling trend starting around 40 mya, and the waters, due to the cooler temperatures, essentially became devoid of many types of predators. The subsequent community had evolved over those millions of years in the absence of major durophagous predators – known for their shell crushing abilities. The major predators in these bottom waters are slow moving invertebrates, and the community developed over time accordingly. Now as surface waters are warming, crabs are able to enter these new areas from the depths, and can have potentially harmful impacts.
At first, this might seem counter-intuitive – typically bottom waters, and the deep ocean, are very cold, and the water warms as you get shallower. This is not the case on the Antarctic shelf, where the shallow waters are actually colder than the surrounding deep waters. This is due to the cold Antarctic circumpolar current, which runs clockwise around Antarctica, isolating its cold water and continental shelf from crabs and fish with bony jaws.
However, the absence of crushing predators was not due to geograhic isolation of the Antarctic continental shelf (although Antarctica is oceanographically isolated, the barriers of biological invasion in this case are physiological, according to Richard Aronson, professor of biology at the Florida Institute of Technology, and others in 2007). Physiologically, the crabs are unable to process magnesium in their blood at the normal shelf water temperatures, resulting in narcotic effects. So the crabs, for millions of years, had stayed away. The resulting shelf community, consisting of epifaunal suspension feeders, lacked the typical defense mechanisms seen in other benthic environments where soft bottom bethos have been evolving with predators in an evolutionary arms race. As already mentioned, the archaic communities of the Antarctic shelf, consist of animals with thin shells which don’t burrow. So one could imagine that if these crab predators were allowed to move into these coastal waters, it could have devastating consequences on the community there.
This is not a crab you would encounter in the Antarctic, however, it is as close a figure to the "arms race" - crab claws, thick clam shell - as I could find on the interwebs.
Range expansions are something that are particularly interesting to me. The lifting of physiological barriers due to temperature will allow biological invasions of numerous species. How these species interact with native species is of great concern. In particular, predator-prey relationships between novel predators and naive prey can restructure communities in warming oceans. Despite its perceived isolation, this research suggests that Antarctica will not be immune to these impacts (and it fact, polar regions are likely to experience a greater magnitude of temperature change).
And the real news here, is not only is there evidence the crabs are moving closer to these shallow shelf communities, but that it is occurring at a much more rapid rate than anticipated.
A quote by Dr. Aronson from the new article: “If you look at the warming trends on the peninsula, you would expect that the crabs would come back in 40 or 50 years,” Aronson said from his office in Melbourne, Fla. ”But boom, they’re already here. This is the last pristine marine system on Earth and it could get destroyed”.
This is big and bad news for the Antarctic bottom communities. Clearly, this is something that should be monitored closely. But it is not in any means an Antarctic phenomenon. In many regions where warming is taking place, range expansion of novel predators can occur. This is something all benthic communities could experience in the near future.
Aronson, R., Thatje, S., Clarke, A., Peck, L., Blake, D., Wilga, C., & Seibel, B. (2007). Climate Change and Invasibility of the Antarctic Benthos Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 38 (1), 129-154 DOI: 10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.38.091206.095525
Aronson RB, Moody RM, Ivany LC, Blake DB, Werner JE, & Glass A (2009). Climate change and trophic response of the Antarctic bottom fauna. PloS one, 4 (2) PMID: 19194490
Thatje, S., Anger, K., Calcagno, J., Lovrich, G., Pörtner, H., & Arntz, W. (2005). CHALLENGING THE COLD: CRABS RECONQUER THE ANTARCTIC Ecology, 86 (3), 619-625 DOI: 10.1890/04-0620
Thatje, S., Hall, S., Hauton, C., Held, C., & Tyler, P. (2008). Encounter of lithodid crab Paralomis birsteini on the continental slope off Antarctica, sampled by ROV Polar Biology, 31 (9), 1143-1148 DOI: 10.1007/s00300-008-0457-5
Because I couldn't have a climate related article without citing the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
Eutrophication is a dirty word. I think. It describes a nutrient over-enrichment of a body of water, which results in numerous things, but most typically a pelagic dominated system and not much alive on the bottom. Not much. But some benthos thrive in these sorts of environments. Mainly, macroalgae. Many of these submerged algal species are tolerant of low light conditions, and outcompete other benthic producers when nutrients are aplenty. When you go to your local bay that is loaded with houses and development, typically you might find Ulva, also known as sea lettuce, and Gracilaria, a branching red alga. both are common in many marine systems, tolerant to low light, proliferate in nutrient rich environments, and, especially the case for Ulva, grow extremely fast.
However, recently, scientists are beginning to examine the use of these very macroalgae as a mode of cleaning up nutrified water bodies. This isn’t a new concept, though, as marine aquarists, and particularly those who keep living reefs, often use “algal scrubbers” and “turf algal filters” and “refugiums” where they keep an isolated tank or compartment with algae that the water from the tank has to circulate through. This helps keep their nutrients low and algae out of their main tanks, and this practice has been going on for decades. So why is science jumping on board now?
Maybe its because there is money to be made. Eutrophication is a major problem plaguing most coastal systems, and mitigation is a new big word in governments and funding agencies. We all know that plants require nutrients to survive and grow. Its simple biology that we probably learned sometime in elementary school (unless, of course, you are from Kansas, just kidding). Eutrophied systems have plenty of nutrients. Makes sense that adding plants, particularly fast-growing and low light tolerant species, would help use those nutrients. The concept is so simple to understand. Nutrients go in, plants use them up, and the water is cleaner. Obviously, there are associated problems with macroalgae, as they are often termed “nuisance species” due to their ability to essentially over-grow/smother everything and suck up all the oxygen during respiration and decomposition. But there are clear benefits.
Small Scallop on a red macro - not sure if its Gracilaria or Agardhiella
This was recently in the news, as professor Charles Yarish from Stamford has been investigating the potential for algae to “purify” systems. He has worked with mussel farmers to grow kelp on their long lines to help mitigate the nutrient deposition by the mussels, and is currently investigating the feasibility of using Gracilaria as a natural purification method for the heavily polluted East River. His idea is to grow the algae on sets of longlines adjacent to lines full of ribbed mussels, with the hopes that this combo of filter feeder fast growing alga will be able to remove nitrogen and phosphorous from the water column. Obviously, this won’t be enough to clean up with river. But, if they look at the rate of nutrient uptake in combination with the growth rates and ending biomass of the algae and mussels, they can come up with a model of nutrient removal for the system. This would allow them to decide how much of each is necessary to clean up the East River. My guess is that the amount of biomass necessary to remove nutrients from the river is many, many, many boatloads. That being said, this will provide valuable information for managers around the country, and may ultimately lead to successful eutrophication mitigation attempts in smaller and less impacted waterways.
I’ll leave you with one of Yarish’s quotes from the article: “This kind of bioremediation effort hasn’t yet happened at an ecosystem level,” says Yarish. “We need to team the seaweed with the filter feeders. We want to do this at a level that hasn’t been seen before.”
So what’s special about manatees? They are found in shallow, slow moving rivers, estuaries, bays, canals, and generally, other coastal areas around Florida. Sometimes, in the warm southern months, they can be spotted in other Gulf Coast states or up to South Carolina, as these big creatures are migratory (and yes, sometimes they get lost all the way up in New York and Connecticut!). Unfortunately, these guys are endangered. They live in shallow water bodies where submerged aquatic vegetation flourishes. (As a side note, many seagrass ecologists believe that seagrasses developed the ability to be so productive, i.e. grow so quickly, to compensate from the grazing pressure during a time when large marine grazers like manatees were so dominant in marine ecosystems). This poses a few problems. One, is it puts manatees in shallow water bodies with increasing boat traffic, and since they are slow moving, they can’t get out of the way of boats. When these boats strike manatees it could be devastating. At the very least, it scars them for life, making movement difficult. They also breath atmospheric air, so even if they are in deep enough water to stay below boat wakes, they have to surface frequently to breath, placing them in harms way. Boat strikes lead to the most human caused manatee mortalities. That said, other things, such as being trapped and crushed inside canal lock systems, swallowing fish hooks and garbage, being tangled in lines and fishing gear are also major causes of manatee loss. And ultimately, habitat degradation is hampering manatee survival. All in all, there is estimated to be about 3800 manatees left.
However, manatees also die of natural causes. A major cause is “cold stress.” WHile manatees are warm blooded, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to maintain proper body temperature in extended periods of cold. Last year alone, over 200 manatees died as a result of cold stress, with another 200 “undetermined cases” also likely attributed to the cold.
What can you do? Learn more about manatees. Check out Save the Manatee and since the holidays are here, you can adopt a manatee for a loved one instead of traditional gifts or money. Donations go along way towards saving these animals.
What am I reading today? Well its been busy, but that kind of slow busy that drives you nuts. So I haven’t been updating as often as I’d like to. But I came across this article today, and wanted to share it with you. Mostly because of the cool picture listed above. But also because it touches on a rather “hot” current science topic, and one that is vitally important for us all to understand. Humans are constantly pumping more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is not up for debate. One consequence of this is global climate change. In the scientific community, this is not up for debate either (although the mainstream media makes it seem much more debatable). But another unintended and, until recently, unrecognized consequence of carbon emissions is ocean acidification. I won’t bore you with the chemistry details, but the main idea is that CO2 is admitted into the atmosphere, and from the atmosphere it is diffused into the oceans. Once absorbed into the oceans, it alters ocean chemistry (see cartoon above from Oceana). This altered ocean chemistry can affect a multitude of organisms, but it particularly harmful to those animals and plants that make calcium carbonate shells and tests. Corals are often identified as species who will exhibit major impacts, and whole ecosystems could be altered. However, shellfisheries will ultimately suffer as many shellfish, and in particular, mollusks (clams, scallops, oysters, conch, whelks) will have a hard time secreting their shells. They will experience mortalities, delayed metamorphosis, and even those that survive will likely be more vulnerable to predation. Coccolithophores, which are open ocean plankton and help contribute to the ocean carbon pump (whereby some of the CO2 is sequestered in the deep ocean basins due to the biological uptake by plants and their resultant death, coagulation, and settlement to the sea floor) may be lost.
Ultimately other fisheries will be impacted, even if they aren’t dependent upon calcification. As I have already mentioned, it will not just devastate reefs, although the colorful tropical playgrounds are often receive the most attention. It won’t just affect the calcifying reef-building organisms, or shellfish. It will affect all ocean life. Loss of reefs means a valuable fish habitat will disappear, and concomitant with that, many of the species which depend on those reefs to survive. If those species disappear, upper trophic levels will suffer, and already stressed by overfishing, may also start to disappear altogether. Likewise, many shellfish are not just commerically important to humans, but serve very specific ecosystem roles, perhaps most importantly, filtration and trophic transfer. Many bivalves will suffer, and these filter feeding organisms help clear the water column, depositing nutrients and food to organisms on the bottom, and transferring primary productivity up the food chain. Many fish either eat bivalves directly, or prey on things that eat the bivalves. In this way, these fish will also suffer.
Granted, I may be painting a doomsday scenario. But it is one that is a very real possibility. Yes, marine systems have shown incredible resiliency to a number of anthropogenic stressors. There are some marine calcifying organisms present today whose prehistoric ancestors lived and maybe even thrived in a higher acidity ocean. However, in geologic history, this acidification would have occurred over much more gradual timescales than its current pace, allowing organisms to adapt. That is the scary part. Unfortunately for organisms alive today, we are not affording them the opportunity to adapt because this change is so rapid. And since weak, bipartisan governments are unable to see the problem and do anything about it, and because the media portrays these issues as “controversial” and “debatable,” and because much of the public doesn’t understand the science (in part because we, as scientists, are often incapable of conveying concepts to general audiences in a manner that is easy to understand), we are living in a time where we COULD do something about it. But, sadly, we won’t do anything. And unfortunately, its entirely possible that our grandchildren or great grandchildren will only know of a coral reefs from photos or some old digital copy of Finding Nemo. That’s a same.
The Times article highlighted the problem. Now is the time to do something about it. Be more responsible and aware that the things we do affect the entire planet. Maybe , if WE ALL try, and contribute to solving the problem, ocean life as we know it may be spared. Here’s to hoping!
I am a marine biologist that is currently attending graduate school at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Marine Sciences Research Center, of Stony Brook University, New York. I am very interested in marine ecology and have been focusing my studies on bay scallop interactions with their habitats. I plan to investigate various anthropogenic impacts on bay scallop populations for my PhD dissertation. This blog will highlight the details of my graduate research, from bay scallop-eelgrass interactions as previously mentioned, to alternative habitats for scallops, such as Codium, to trophic cascades, and more. Enjoy!
Is a useful experimental tool to mimic natural seagrass while controlling many factors, such as density, canopy height, leaf number, which are usually confounding in natural eelgrass meadows.
Scallops seem to love this stuff!