I am going to render a normal conversation that often happens when I talk about seaweed and what I do.
– So, you work with seaweed. Nice! What do you do with it?
– Well, among other things I try to cross different species with one another in order to understand how speciation occurs.
-That sounds interesting. When does the seaweed bloom, then? Or….does it have flowers?
-Nope, it has eggs and sperm just like us. Bladderwrack and narrow wrack have male and female plants and actually have an almost identical lifecycle to humans.
-It has eggs and sperm?! But…is it an animal, then?
Suddenly you realize that what you learned during biology class in school was just a rough cut, simplified picture of reality. Nature and evolution is so much more than that, with more imagination and concepts than we humans are able to name.
I think it is fantastic that algae, some of the planet’s first living organisms, have used eggs and sperm for a long time. Maybe longer even than humans have been around. A flick on the nose at us when we think we are evolutionarily advanced.
Here’s a video of how eggs from bladderwrack start spinning by all the sperm swimming around them, hoping to fertilize. Beautiful!
On Thursday 21st, we sneak started the International World Water Day with a dive outside the water museum Aquaria located on Djurgården, in central Stockholm.
The sun was shining from a clear blue sky and the water was almost three degrees Celsius. Ideal for a dive.
The audience was a primary school class of around thirty VERY interested young children. In order for them to experience what I do, I had kitted up my full-face mask with both a wireless talk communication (Buddy Phone) up to the surface, and an underwater filmcamera, connected by hose to a large TV-screen. The camera was kindly lent to us by SVENTAB. Thank you!
P4 Radio Stockholm was on location and broadcasted live from shore (in Swedish).
A lot of people seemed to think it was madness getting into the water at this time of year. But with a good dry suit (I dive with Ursuit Red-Q and SiTech ring system for dry gloves) and a full face mask, I don’t get as much as a drop of water on me. I was probably the warmest one of all that day. Underneath my drysuit, I wear a thin wool underwear and then a Fourth Element fleec underwear over. Very toasty!
Lena Kautsky managed the surface end of the Buddy Phone and passed on questions from the children. She also told them about how seaweed function like forrests of the sea.
During the dive, I found a lot of beer cans an bottles, seaweed and a treasure chest full of candy!!
It is SUCH an advantage to have access to an ice breaking ship when one works with seaweed.
Mid-March is unfortunately not always full of sun, birdsong and warm spring temperatures.
On March 18th, we wrwe out at the Askö laboratory to do a reading of some experiments that have been out in the sea over winter.
With a lilttle help from the ice breaking R/V AURELIA and skipper Eddie, I could reach one of the sites, located just south of the boathouse.
The seaweed has not suffered from the cold winter, but was in good shape. When I lifted the “weedbeds” up onto the ice, lots and lots of animals swam out. Small crustaceans, gastropods and caddis worms a plenty, all of them have spent the winter in the seaweed.
Allthough the visibility in the water is very good this time of year, and the temperature is, well, shall we say refreshing, I can’t help but longing for summer. It is quite a struggle to move large sheets of ice when one is i the water…
On Thursday, you can join us under the surface and experience what it is like to scuba dive WITHOUT GETTING WET OR COLD!
How on Earth will that be possible?
On Thursday 21st we will have a sneak start on World Water Day! Come to Aquaria and join the BalticSeaWeed blog, who will get into the water to check on a seaweed experiment. You can also help feeding the animals at Aquaria and get answers to everything you’ve always wanted to know about fish, and much, much more.
The program (in Swedish) is HERE, and the press release from Stockholm Universitety (also in Swedish) is HERE.
See you Thursday!
Are you interested in the history of sunken ships? Do you dream of finding chests of treasure in the sea? Or are you interested in finding out what jobs includes working under preassure (2-5 bar)?
On May 4th, the exhibition Among treasures and wrecks opens at The Museum of Work in Norrköping, Sweden.
Here, you can take part of experiences and everyday-life from seven divers with different connections to diving; a rescue diver, a freediver, a sport diver, a marine biologist, a marine archeologist, a construction diver and an underwater photographer.
The exhibition is open until September 15th.
The BalticSeaWeed blog is, of course, represented!
This year World Water Week in Stockholm takes place during September 1-6, so mark the date in your calendar.
The World Water Week organizers are now looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help them manage all the 2013 World Water Week sessions!
If this is something you would like to do, click on the link above and submit your interest.