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PUBLIC TALK: Ecological History of the Penobscot Bay
June 14, 2018@7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
The Penobscot: An ecosystem colliding with the Anthropocene
with Bob Steneck
Professor, University of Maine’s School of Marine Sciences
Thursday, June 14 at 7:00PM
Presented in Partnership with the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition
Anthropocene Epoch: The time interval characterized as when humanity began to substantially alter Earth’s biosphere.
Many beautiful seascapes within Penobscot Bay have not changed for centuries. However, underwater and out of sight there has been a revolution. This ecosystem supported some of Maine’s first seaside residents on North Haven Island over 4000 years ago. They subsisted on cod and other groundfish for thousands of years. While we know cod are delicious, when they were abundant, they were important predators that “ruled” the ecosystem. Today, cod are rare in coastal Maine and as a result, some of their prey have exploded in abundance including our most valuable marine resource — the lobster. The Gulf of Maine in general and Penobscot Bay are among the most dynamic and rapidly changing ecosystems in the world. Our changing climate and fishing pressure caused considerable change but the restoration efforts of removing dams along the Penobscot River and its tributaries account for considerable positive change today and in the future. Since humans created the Antropocene, arguably it is our charge to reverse our effects. Maine can be proud of the pioneering role it has played in working to reduce some of the human impacts to fisheries and to our waterways of the past.