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Ocean Acidification Program News

Carbon Comes Home—Kelp Aquaculture to Benefit both Sea and Soil

December 4th, 2017, 6pm EST (3pm PST)

Phytoremediation—broadly defined as the use of living plants to clean up contaminated soil, air, and water—has been generating a lot of buzz as a potential strategy to ease ocean acidification. Phytoremediation in this context refers to harnessing the photosynthetic power of marine algae (i.e. kelp and seaweed) to absorb dissolved carbon dioxide in order to boost seawater pH and reduce stress on shelled organisms like mussels and oysters. Scientists are evaluating this approach in shellfish growing states like Washington and Maine, and the mariculture industry and government agencies that are already getting behind commercial cultivation of ‘sea vegetables’ are poised to capitalize on this potential co-benefit to seawater chemistry. In this webinar, we’ll follow the evolving story of an experimental kelp farm in Washington’s Hood Canal, including a serendipitous partnership with a local terrestrial farmer, review relevant curricular materials published by Maine’s Island Institute and others, and explain how phytoremediation can used to teach essential concepts about the earth’s carbon cycle.
Please email to request access to the video recording and slides from this presentation.

About our speaker: A microbiologist by training, Meg discovered her true calling in 2010 when she happened to read Elizabeth Kolbert’s seminal 2006 article about ocean acidification (OA), The Darkening Sea, in The New Yorker magazine. As Washington Sea Grant’s OA specialist, Meg is a resource on OA science, policy and outreach for diverse stakeholders, including government agencies, academic institutions, tribes, marine industries and the public. She also serves as Sea Grant’s liaison to NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Lab, a unique appointment created to facilitate the flow of NOAA’s world-class OA research to the greater scientific community and the public. Prior to joining Sea Grant, she worked with the UW School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, the Marine Stewardship Council and Seattle Chefs Collaborative. She’s (practically) a native Seattleite and is interested in everything that happens on or beneath the waves.


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The NOAA Ocean Acidification Program (OAP) works to prepare society to adapt to the consequences of ocean acidification and conserve marine ecosystems as acidification occurs. Learn more about the human connections and adaptation strategies from these efforts.

Adaptation approaches fostered by the OAP include:


Using models and research to understand the sensitivity of organisms and ecosystems to ocean acidification to make predictions about the future, allowing communities and industries to prepare


Using these models and predictions as tools to facilitate management strategies that will protect marine resources and communities from future changes


Developing innovative tools to help monitor ocean acidification and mitigate changing ocean chemistry locally


On the Road

Drive fuel-efficient vehicles or choose public transportation. Choose your bike or walk! Don't sit idle for more than 30 seconds. Keep your tires properly inflated.

With your Food Choices

Eat local- this helps cut down on production and transport! Reduce your meat and dairy. Compost to avoid food waste ending up in the landfill

With your Food Choices

Make energy-efficient choices for your appliances and lighting. Heat and cool efficiently! Change your air filters and program your thermostat, seal and insulate your home, and support clean energy sources

By Reducing Coastal Acidification

Reduce your use of fertilizers, Improve sewage treatment and run off, and Protect and restore coastal habitats

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You've taken the first step to learn more about ocean acidification - why not spread this knowledge to your community?

Every community has their unique culture, economy and ecology and what’s at stake from ocean acidification may be different depending on where you live.  As a community member, you can take a larger role in educating the public about ocean acidification. Creating awareness is the first step to taking action.  As communities gain traction, neighboring regions that share marine resources can build larger coalitions to address ocean acidification.  Here are some ideas to get started:

  1. Work with informal educators, such as aquarium outreach programs and local non-profits, to teach the public about ocean acidification. Visit our Education & Outreach page to find the newest tools!
  2. Participate in habitat restoration efforts to restore habitats that help mitigate the effects of coastal acidification
  3. Facilitate conversations with local businesses that might be affected by ocean acidification, building a plan for the future.
  4. Partner with local community efforts to mitigate the driver behind ocean acidification  – excess CO2 – such as community supported agriculture, bike & car shares and other public transportation options.
  5. Contact your regional Coastal Acidification Network (CAN) to learn how OA is affecting your region and more ideas about how you can get involved in your community
       More for Taking Community Action