Launch of Team Zostera
This Learning Journey will launch an ambitious community science initiative called “TEAM ZOSTERA“. Here in Casco Bay, and across the Gulf of Maine, eelgrass meadows (Zostera marina L.) are going through periods of BOOM and BUST. This matters because they are the “keystone” habitat and are in need of our help to understand what is happening, why and what else can we do to help them thrive and expand. In partnership with a wide range of agencies and organizations, we have launched TEAM ZOSTERA – so this is a call to action for all divers, vessel captains, sea kayakers and mappers!
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If Marvel Studios ever wanted to create movies of “SuperHeros” of the plant kingdom, focusing on those that have SUPERPOWERS that are often called “keystone” species because they support the world’s most productive ecosystems, they would surely dedicate a full-length motion picture feature to the BIG Z – Zostera marina (L.). The common name is eelgrass – and if there is one marine plant that you should know about (AND CARE ABOUT) – it is this one!
In 2021, a team from COBALT (Collaborative for Bioregional Action Learning & Transformation) based on Portland, Maine, met with regional leaders and explored the potential of launching a citizen science effort dedicated to mapping and documenting the health of eelgrass meadows in Casco Bay. In spring/summer 2021, meetings were held with leaders from the Friends of Casco Bay/Casco Baykeeper, Casco Bay National Estuary Partnership, as well as from Maine DEP and seagrass researchers who had experience in the region. Recognizing this was a pilot exploratory effort, there was strong support to proceed and leaders from Team Zostera coordinated with Maine DEP to coordinate next steps and identify how we could contribute to key management questions.
At this inception stage, the purpose of Team Zostera is to align closely with other citizen stewardship efforts across the globe and specifically seagrass mapping initiatives in Casco Bay. Given that there are other citizen…
In 2021, a team from COBALT (Collaborative for Bioregional Action Learning & Transformation) based on Portland, Maine, met with regional leaders in the field of coastal/marine stewardship and explored the potential of launching a citizen science effort dedicated to mapping and documenting the health of eelgrass meadows in Casco Bay.
A novel effort that weaves together citizen science, story-telling, learning journeys, and innovation in the wider Casco Bay bioregion to help understand how we can better steward one of the most productive ecosystems on earth: eelgrass meadows in the Gulf of Maine.