Every day the journey of a lifetime occurs beneath the waves of Earth's oceans, and we don't know why. When critical species of marine life leave a certain area, we speculate that they were pushed out by water conditions or predation, but we never see where they go. This research team sought to answer that question as best as we humans are equipped to as of right now.
What it is
This is an explanation of how larval dispersion rates could hypothetically affect population connectivity in relatively-stable communities of marine fauna.
How I built it
A ton of cats from SEA Semester went on a series of cruises along the Sargassum Sea's western boundary collecting samples of seaweed for DNA Analysis. Epifaunal analysis was conducted back at Wood's Hole, MA, and their CO1 genes were sequenced and compared for their haplotype connectivity.
At Eckerd College, the DNA analysis was replicated for the more-standard 16s rRNA sequence, and put through the ringer. Charts were hand-drawn in GIMP.
What's next for Population Connectivity of the Sargassum Snail
Test more organisms – perhaps those we aren't expecting to see results from. The sea is a mysterious mistress.