Ongoing and Future Projects
As part of the grant “Development of the Ocean NOMAD (Nautical Off-shore Macroalgal Autonomous Device) for Low-Cost Production of Biomass for Foods, Feeds, and Fuels” I serve as lead biologist, providing guidance on biology, developing seeding methods, testing strain selection, ecophysiology, and use of best agronomic principles for optimization of the system.
The project will design, build, and field-test a transformational Nautical Off-shore Macroalgal Autonomous Device (NOMAD), which is a free-floating sensor-equipped carbon-fiber seaweed longline (5 km) that is envisioned to be released from a seeding vessel far offshore the United States West Coast and collected by harvesting boats after six months of southbound journey (ca. 1500 km) along nutrient-rich ocean currents The longline will be seeded with a binary culture of Nereocystis luetkeana (bull kelp) and Saccharina latissima (sugar kelp). The larger floating N. luetkeana will serve as canopy species, while the smaller non-floating S. latissima will be the understory species, resulting in improved light utilization efficiency and thus biomass yields.
This project is part of an effort by the US Department of Energy to explore the possibility of growing macroalgae for biomass production.
At FHL in the spring of 2018 I will be seeding pieces of carbon fiber (experimental) and nylon (control) longlines with two species of kelp, growing the seeded longlines while hung from the dock, measuring the growth rates and biomass, then measuring the strength of the holdfast adhesion on the lines, i.e., how well they attach and resist being torn off in high energy environments. I will also be starting a library of gametophyte cultures of Nereocystis, Saccharina, Alaria and other kelp species.
- Northwest Straits Commission, Member, Scientific Advisory Committee. 2015- present.
- International Kelp Alliance. With the NW Straits Commission. Charter Member. 2015- present.
- Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, Alternate for Research Chair. January 2012- December 2018.
- Development of a kelp recovery plan in conjunction with the NW Straits Initiative.
- Submitting personal collection of algal herbarium specimens for accessing at the University of Washington's Burke Museum (WTU).
- Research project to investigate the distribution and ecology of the microscopic gametophyte phase of the 24 species of kelp in Puget Sound using molecular and culturing techniques
- Provide Best Available Science (BAS) for the effects of overwater structures on kelp species in Puget Sound
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