Meadows Under the Sea: The Ecology and Conservation of Eelgrass in New England
Enter the beautiful and ecologically vital undersea world of eelgrass, the unsung hero of ocean habitats! Dr. Cynthia Hays is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Keene State College where she studies the evolution and ecology of marine “plants” – seaweeds and seagrasses. Her talk will introduce some of the beautiful and diverse photosynthetic organisms that live in our nearshore regions, with a focus on Zostera marina, or eelgrass. Eelgrass provides us with many critical ecosystem services, including stabilizing the sediments, improving water clarity, and providing habitat for many commercially important fish and invertebrate species, but eelgrass is experiencing substantial decline in temperate regions worldwide. Come learn what eelgrass is, why it’s important, and what scientists have discovered about the effect of genetic diversity in this habitat-forming species. Free and open to all.