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Free presentation @ Sea Education Association

When: Sun Mar 16th
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Where: 171 Woods Hole Road

Dr. Amy NS Siuda will present "Drifting Oases of Life on the Deep Blue Sea" in the James L. Madden Center lecture hall. The presentation is free and open to the public. For more information, call 508-540-3954.

The North Atlantic subtropical gyre (Sargasso Sea), Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico host two species of the brown seaweed, Sargassum, that are unique in life history strategy and ecological function. Unlike other species of seaweed, S. natans and S. fluitans drift at the ocean surface and are never attached to the seafloor. Individual Sargassum plants are forced by ocean currents into aggregated mats that can resemble small islands. Ecologically and economically important organisms, including sea turtles, eel larvae and game fish, use Sargassum aggregations as nursery and feeding sites in the nutrient-poor open ocean. Sargassum also supports a specialized community of inhabitants, from fish to crabs, that have adapted to ‘hide’ within the weed. As a result, these drifting oases have been identified as biodiversity hotspots and are the focus of a new policy initiative to make the Sargasso Sea a high-seas Marine Protected Area. This lecture will introduce us to the Sargassum community and share how decades of scientific observations recorded during SEA Semester cruises are informing the management effort in the Sargasso Sea region.

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