The effects of removing rockweed for commercial purposes will be the topic of the next talk in the Fishbowl colloquium series at Unity College.

Dr. Aimee Phillippi, associate professor of biology and Unity College Honors Program co-director, will speak on the topic of rockweed from noon to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, April 9, in Room 204 of the Student Activities Center Parsons Wing at Unity College, 90 Quaker Hill Road in Unity. The talk includes free lunch and a coffee discussion in the student center immediately after the discussion.

Rockweed, Ascophyllum nodosum, the brown intertidal algae that covers Maine’s rocky shores, has been harvested for decades in Europe and has recently been commercialized in Atlantic Canada and Maine.  Studies show rockweed has high productivity and can recover relatively quickly when lower lateral branches are left behind.

However, there is concern about how removal of rockweed impacts fauna associated with it. Rockweed beds provide habitat and protection for many invertebrates, which in turn provide food for numerous vertebrate species. Concerns about cascading ecological effects of canopy removal have not been resolved.

In her recently published study, Phillippi – who holds a PhD in marine biology from the University of Maine — examined the impacts of rockweed removal on the invertebrates living beneath the rockweed canopy. She will discuss those findings during her Fishbowl talk.

Unity Fishbowl Talks is a colloquium series for Unity College faculty and invited outside speakers to discuss ideas on pedagogy and to present their scholarly work.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015