MOUNT DESERT — Seaweed appetizers and drinks made with locally collected marine plants are on the menu of the Maine Natural History Observatory’s benefit “Seaweed Social” from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, at Otter Creek Hall, that includes a silent auction featuring original seaweed art, books and classes.
Maine Natural History Observatory Executive Director Glen Mittelhauser, naturalist, artist and biologist Jordan Chalfant and Amanda Savoie of The Canadian Museum of Nature will be on hand to speak about the Seaweeds of Maine Project. Their aim is to promote seaweed appreciation and stewardship by collecting baseline seaweed data and creating a user-friendly, photographic field guide to Maine seaweeds.
They note the Gulf of Maine is rapidly changing and coastal Maine’s sea life, including seaweed, is being affected. Although numerous marine species depend on seaweed for food and shelter, very little is known about which are in Maine, if any are endangered and the presence and distribution of invasive species.
According to researchers, as Maine adjusts to a changing climate, it is vital that biologists and policymakers have access to baseline data on seaweeds. Groundwork has already been done on this project, including organizing existing data, tracking and updating taxonomy and building a prototype of the guide.
Maine Natural History Observatory’s mission is to collect, interpret and maintain datasets crucial for understanding changes in Maine’s plant and animal populations. Its work is funded through grants and donations.
The Otter Creek Hall is located at 82 Otter Creek Drive in Mount Desert.