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Sea Education Association | SEA Currents

SEA Currents: News


Jun

23

SEA Semester Class Unveils Sargasso Sea Management Proposal

Anne Broache, communications@sea.edu
SEA Semester

Above: Hannah Freyer of Colorado College presents recommendations for proposed management areas for the Sargasso Sea at the 4th Annual SEA Semester: Marine Biodiversity & Conservation Symposium on June 12. Below: Grayson Huston of University of California, Berkeley shares his group's biodiversity research with SEA Overseer Eric Wolman during the symposium's poster session.

The 20 advanced undergraduate students of this year’s Marine Biodiversity & Conservation program recently completed a high seas management proposal for the Sargasso Sea, a North Atlantic region increasingly recognized for its strong ecological importance and economic impact.

A Sustainable High Seas Management Plan

The students’ recommendations are based on three months of work, involving science and policy research, a five-week research cruise through the Sargasso Sea, and interactions with stakeholders, science experts, and policy experts. Through the recommendations of their management proposal, the student research team aims to:

  1. Protect and promote conservation of biodiversity and natural resources in the Sargasso Sea by minimizing conflict between human uses and ecosystem health, and encouraging sustainable use of ecosystem services.
  2. Facilitate sustainable use and sustainable economic development in the Sargasso Sea for Bermuda and the global economy.
  3. Work with stakeholders and within existing and new regional and international legal frameworks to manage the biological, ecological, and human needs of the Sargasso Sea.
  4. Take into account future uses of the Sargasso Sea and anticipate changes in the short and long term.

The plan proposes distinct management areas and provides recommendations for major topic areas, including climate change, governance, endangered and threatened species, fisheries, plastic debris, maritime traffic, seabed mining and the need for further scientific research in this region.

Sea Education Association (SEA) has worked for more than 40 years to better understand the Sargasso Sea by conducting research to facilitate sustainable and responsible management of this sensitive and important habitat. In addition to scientific research, SEA has recently expanded its focus to include policy.

At the 4th Annual SEA Semester: Marine Biodiversity & Conservation Symposium in Woods Hole, Mass. on June 12, 2015, the class devoted the day to describing their proposal to a panel of leading ocean science and conservation policy experts.

Watch Student Policy Presentations:

  • Intro to Sargasso Sea Management Proposal View Talk
  • Governance Context and Proposed Management Areas View Talk
  • Sargasso Sea Conservation Targets View Talk
  • Sargasso Sea Conservation Stressors View Talk
  • Human Uses of the Sargasso Sea - Fishing View Talk
  • Human Uses of the Sargasso Sea - Shipping View Talk

Original Biodiversity Research

The students also presented original biodiversity research based on fieldwork completed aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer this April and May. Below are their final posters, which focus on six research areas, including spiny lobster and eel larvae, Sargassum seaweed and the community of species that inhabits it, and the microbial community on microplastics in the sea. 

Elizabeth F. Olson and Elizabeth M.B. Tonkin

A genetic and morphological analysis of Atlantic Sargassum

Fredrik Eriksson, Hannah Freyer, and Sabrina Hutchinson

Biogeography and population connectivity of hydroids in the Sargasso Sea

Anthony Daley, Grayson Huston, Margaret Keefe and Callie Schultz

Population level biodiversity of Sargassum associated mobile fauna

Mareike Duffing Romero, Olivia Robson, Katarina Rolf, and Sarah Stratton

Eel Biodiversity and Population Connectivity in the Sargasso Sea

William Botta, Joseph Townsend, and Ryan Plantz

Amalia Alberini, Lena Goss, Caroline Graham, and Helena McMonagle

Initial Microbial Colonizers of Microplastics in the Sargasso Sea

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