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Media release

Schoodic Institute scientists invite the public to join them in the intertidal zone to collect data about rockweed while exploring the beauty of the rocky coast between the tides.

Rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) is the dominant algae or seaweed in most of the rocky intertidal zone of Maine and provides habitat for animals living in and visiting this dynamic ecosystem.

Rockweed is currently harvested in Maine and sustainable management requires knowledge of the total amount of rockweed throughout the state. To help answer the question, ”How much rockweed is there?” Schoodic Institute has launched Project ASCO (Assessing Seaweed via Community Observations). Coastal property owners, land trusts and their members, and others with access to the shoreline are invited to one or more field training sessions to learn how to collect rockweed data that will be analyzed and shared by scientists at Schoodic Institute to inform resource management.

“We are providing data collection kits to people once they are trained,” said Maya Pelletier, project coordinator, “They then have everything they need – skills and gear – to collect rockweed data from the parts of the coast they love and want to learn more about.”

The training sessions are July 6 at Lamoine Beach Park in Lamoine, July 19 at Reversing Falls Park in Pembroke, August 4 at Frazer Point on the Schoodic Peninsula, August 5 at the Wright Landing Boat Launch in Wiscasset, August 20 at Moose Point State Park in Searsport, September 16 at Wolfe’s Neck Center in Freeport, September 17 at Frazer Point on the Schoodic Peninsula, September 21 at Ocean Avenue Shore in Biddeford, and October 2 at Potts Point Preserve in Harpswell.

These in-person training sessions will be spent outdoors in the intertidal zone. No prior knowledge is required; participants will be provided with the supplies and training needed to safely and effectively collect rockweed data.

“We are looking forward to working with other people who love the coast and the intertidal to collect high quality and essential data,” said Hannah Webber, Marine Ecology Director at Schoodic Institute.

Along with rockweed, this project allows for learning more about other seaweeds, periwinkles, mussels, crabs, birds, and the occasional seal or whale. There is no cost to attend but registration is required.

Visit the Project ASCO page for more information and to register.