Project to Explore Kelp Aquaculture for Remediating Climate Change

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences received a $900,000 grant to explore how kelp aquaculture can remediate negative effects of climate change. Absorbed atmospheric carbon dioxide is making ocean water more acidic and less habitable for many marine organisms, but kelp that soaks up carbon dioxide as it grows can lower the acidity of the surrounding seawater and raise oxygen levels. This benefits other sea life in the area. In this project, researchers are exploring the potential of growing kelp alongside blue mussels—which are particularly vulnerable to increasing ocean acidity. In protected bays, growing kelp can naturally buffer seawater acidity and create an additional product for harvest in the process. “Not only does this give us two commercially viable crops, but it also allows us to increase the positive impact on our local ecosystem,” said Matthew Moretti, CEO of Bangs Island Mussels, a Maine farm that has been collaborating with the researchers.