Just over a month ago, Hurricane was fortunate enough to host the Alca I. and its amazing crew of scientists as they made their way across the Gulf of Maine conducting research on dramatic changes occurring in our oceans. The Alca I. is a three-masted motor schooner that was specifically built for oceanographic expeditions by Dr. Walter Adey, a research scientist with the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. After construction was finished 2003, the Alca I. has been traveling across the North Atlantic on a variety of expeditions focused on distribution of a variety of seaweeds. The current expedition is being run in conjunction with Drs. Thew Suskiewicz and Doug Rasher, who are continuing the research that Dr. Adey started over 50 years ago.
The vessel had a rotating crew and we were excited to have Dr. Suskiewicz come ashore to give a presentation to our students while the vessel was moored at Hurricane. The Advanced Marine Biology students learned about the changing nature of the Gulf of Maine, particularly related to the changing seaweed communities due to successive overharvesting of a variety of marine species (e.g., large finfish, urchins). It was amazing to hear how few large urchins they were able to find on their current expedition in the lower subtidal zones compared to the last expedition that saw almost nothing but urchin barrens (example video from Southern California).
You can learn more about about their work and help support the current expedition by visiting their gofundme site.