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Sixth Grade Investigates Spread Of Invasive Seaweed

posted Dec 9, 2015, 12:08 PM by Seth Cole
Mr. Cady's sixth grade science students have been working with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to investigate the spread of an invasive red seaweed along the Maine coast. The seaweed, a red algae called 
Dasysiphonia japonica, has been spreading along the southern New England coast.  Students received frozen samples of seaweed suction-dredged by Maine's Department of Marine Resources at Damariscove Island off Boothbay Harbor, one of 44 sites sampled. Student teams analyzed and sorted the collection of species, finally using microscopes to look for and photograph telltale axial growth and single-cell branches.  Teams published their data to GMRI's Vital Signs program, and their results are there for the public to view.  Experts will begin to analyze the photographic evidence to verify any presence of D. japonica.  Our students did not find any definite evidence at Damariscove.  Preliminary findings by other schools show that while the invasive species is present, it is not yet abundant along the Maine coast.