Eelgrass Project

CSCR 2020 Varsity Researchers Lucy Clay, Andrew Hoadley, Brendan Burke, Beck LaBash

CSCR’s eelgrass team, consisting of middle school and high school students, and an occasional college intern, has been researching eelgrass, Zostera marina, in Cohasset Outer Harbor since 2013. We interact with professional eelgrass researchers from DEP, EPA, DMF, Mass Bays Estuary Program, and various universities and are known for our immersive snorkeling, underwater photography, and our use of python and machine learning to create geolocated photo documentation of eelgrass and the ocean floor, and our general curiosity and enthusiasm.

Going forward we will examine sites of interest from previous years for changes over time, and look for relationship with seaweeds, epibionts, and microplastics. Mass DEP will be arial surveying our area soon, so we will ground-truth their work with snorkeling and gopros.

Contact sbryant@ccscr.org if interested in participating either as a student researcher, guest lecturer or advisor.

Values of eelgrass:

(1) it is an important primary producer in the food chain

(2) it is also a defense against climate change, absorbing greenhouse gases

(3) it provides a habitat for many organisms

(4) it helps lessen the effects of ocean acidification

(5) it helps fight coastal erosion

(6) with its epibionts, it concentrates sediments and microplastics, from the water column