Reporting Michael Rosenfield
DURHAM, N.H. (CBS) – A seaweed, called Colpomenia peregrina, off the coast of New England and nicknamed “sea potato” has been found by two University of New Hampshire graduate students who recently published their findings along with their professors.
“We just noticed this round ball, a seaweed that we’ve never been before,” UNH graduate student Lindsay Green said.
Green and fellow student Hannah Traggis found the seaweed while diving off the coast of Maine. UNH said it is the first time this seaweed has been found off New England and it is moving down the coast.
“The population that we have here … spread from Nova Scotia,” Green said. “How it spread, we’re not sure.”
The researchers, which include their professors, Chris Neefus, Arthur Mathieson and Clinton Dawes, say the seaweed is spreading quickly from Maine to Massachusetts and they are keeping a close eye on it to see whether it will harm any marine life.
“We don’t know any negative impacts at this point but we’re certainly going to keep any eye on everything in the future,” Green said.
Researchers are not only studying the seaweed’s potential impact, but also how fast and how far it is spreading.
“So now we are hoping to collect more data on its existence, and we plan on doing more dives along the bay side of Cape Cod and assessing to see whether it’s gotten south of the Cape Cod Canal,” Traggis said.