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ME - Red seaweed is taking over the Gulf of Maine. That's bad news for cunner fish.

The Gulf of Maine is changing. The oceans along with land-based environments are in a constant state of flux thus their ecosystems are constantly changing. Ecosystems on land and ocean are governed by the amount of oxygen available and the temperature.

The Gulf of Maine is changing. The oceans along with land-based environments are in a constant state of flux thus their ecosystems are constantly changing. Ecosystems on land and ocean are governed by the amount of oxygen available and the temperature. In addition, the ocean is dependent on the salinity and in many cases, the introduction of invasive species. Obviously, this is an oversimplification, but for most of us, it suffices in helping us understand what is happening and why.

In the Gulf of Maine, the surface water temperature is warming at a rate faster than most of the other oceans in the world.

Since the plants and animals are temperature dependent, a tiny change can cause a monumental shift in the ecosystem.

We also have another problem here in the Gulf of Maine which is exacerbating the other changes. We have seen an introduction of invasive seaweeds.

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An invasive species is an organism, plant, or animal, which has been introduced to a new environment by artificial means. It is an organism which is not native. Many times, organisms are spread to new ocean environs by way of ballast water in ships. Usually, the invasive does not have any natural enemies and will multiply replacing native species and causing a change in the environment.

In the nearshore Gulf of Maine, we are seeing a filamentous red algae Dasysiphonia japonica which grows on the bottom. It originated in the Sea of Japan, and it is unknown how it arrived on our shores, but it is rapidly taking over the nearshore bottom habitat. Beachgoers have been noticing it for the past few years washing up on shore in mounds of fibrous masses, making it hard to swim and enjoy the beaches.

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