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Forecasting Our Future: Robotic mussels may hold key to saving New England shoreline

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Warming seas are having a growing impact on the life that depends on our oceans to survive. But it’s not just the water that’s heating up.

“They just seem to be burning off the rocks during the summertime. This used to be covered in mussels and now there just aren’t that many,” said Brian Helmuth during a recent research trip in Nahant. As a professor at Northeastern University and through his work with the school’s Marine Science Center, he’s been studying the impact of climate change on marine organisms for decades. He’s also seen firsthand that mussels are dying. And not just here.

Up and down the Gulf of Maine, sites representing similar patterns of biodiversity are being monitored. Helmuth and his team of students are part of a global network spanning both sides of the Atlantic Ocean from Greenland to Antarctica. They are literally trying to take the temperature “at the level of the organism.”

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