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Project Background Information

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Seaweeds are ecosystem-builders

Macro-algaes, know collectively as seaweeds, are the primary producers and foundational species of their ecosystems, taking nutrients from the water and energy from the sun to grow, becoming biological material which fuels their ecosystem. Where seaweed grows in abundance, it attracts grazers and other wildlife seeking food and shelter, which in turn attract their natural predators. This is a simplified representation of the seaweed forest ecosystem.

Seaweed Ecosystems are vital to our planet's biosphere

Seaweed forests are among the most biodiverse ecosystems on our planet, the most biologically productive in terms of converting sunlight into available ecological material, and sequester atmospheric carbon at higher rates than similar sized terrestrial forests. They also are essential components of larger systems, such as providing food for the global ocean ecosystems and reducing coastal erosion by protecting shorelines from extreme ocean forces.

The problem:

Seaweed forests are disappearing

Seaweed ecosystems have been in decline for as long as their scientific study has taken place, and today cover a fraction of their historical ranges. This is both a result of and accelerant for climate change. Human factors such as increased temperatures and acidification of ocean water, chemical pollution, overfishing and interference with ecosystem balance, and coastal reconstruction all negatively affect the growing environment and contribute to the decimation of these essential ecosystems.

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We know how to grow seaweed!

There is an existing highly-efficient industry of growing seaweed for human consumption. There are established methods for stringing long ropes as substrate, underwater anchoring blocks, and organizing sub-littoral areas. However, these practices are almost exclusively oriented toward harvest for human consumption.  The methods used by the seaweed farming industry are perfectly suited toward ecological seaweed forestry efforts; they just need to be redesigned with those goals in mind.

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