MBL Associate Scientist Loretta Roberson is quoted in this article. Roberson, whose research focuses on how organisms respond to anthropogenic impacts on coastal marine systems, is the PI of a tropical farm seaweed cultivation project with study sites in Florida, Belize and Puerto Rico.

When Maggie Reddy was growing up on the eastern coast of South Africa in the 1990s, the tiny oceanside town where her family lived offered just two recreational options for children: the library and the beach. Though Reddy had been born categorized as Asian because of her distant Indian heritage, the government policy of racial separation was abandoned when Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress party took over when Reddy was six. The two resources straddling the coastal road that ran through town became, for the first time, open to her. She lapped them up. “I was always reading, with massive boxes of books everywhere,” she recalled in August. “And I was totally fascinated by this marine environment.”

Other kids delighted in the big, cute marine creatures that inhabit South Africa’s 2,800 kilometers of coastline—octopuses, penguins, seals, dolphins, whales—but Reddy was drawn to the slimy brown and green stuff nobody wanted to touch, and most people regarded as blocking their view of the fish: seaweed. At 18, she enrolled at the University of KwaZulu Natal, the college closest to home, but soon transferred to the University of Cape Town, on the West Coast, because it was one of the few places where phycology–the study of algae–was taken seriously. “I kind of liked the idea of studying something nobody really knew anything about,” she said. Read the full story at thebulletin.org.

Source: The Underwater Amazon | The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists