BAR HARBOR, MAINE – The topic of the MDI Science Café for Monday, March 9, 2020 will be “Kelp Farming as a Potential Strategy for Remediating Ocean Acidification and Improving Shellfish Cultivation,” presented by Susie Arnold, Ph.D., of Island Institute.
Maine’s beautiful coastlines and long-established fisheries contribute to the state’s economy, making it uniquely, and doubly, vulnerable to the effects of ocean acidification from both an environmental and socio-economic perspective. To address this vulnerability, Maine was the first east coast state to convene a legislatively established commission, tasked with understanding increased ocean acidification and the potential impacts on commercially important species.
Arnold has been part of a joint research effort, undertaken by Island Institute, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and aquaculture industry collaborators, to better understand the role of growing and harvesting macroalgae in capturing carbon, and to determine potential benefits of co-cultivating kelp or other macrophytes alongside farmed shellfish. On small spatial scales, cultivated seaweed may create a “halo” of improved conditions for growing shellfish by removing enough CO2 to mitigate acidification.
At the Café, Arnold will summarize the research findings of the first three years of the ongoing project, which is working to determine if co-cultivation strategies can provide improved shellfish production in the face of rising acidification in Maine’s coastal waters.
A marine scientist for Island Institute, Susie Arnold, Ph.D., holds a master’s degree in Marine Policy and doctoral degree in Marine Biology from the University of Maine. Her scope of work looks at the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on marine resources and fisheries-dependent communities. Arnold’s current areas of focus include researching the environmental benefits of cultivating edible seaweed, working with fishermen on business diversification to include shellfish and seaweed aquaculture, and helping coastal communities to better understand the implications of sea level rise so that they can make informed adaptation decisions.
MDI Science Cafés are offered in fulfillment of the MDI Biological Laboratory’s mission to promote scientific literacy and increase public engagement with science. The popular events offer a chance to hear directly from speakers about trends in science. Short presentations delivered in everyday language are followed by lively, informal discussion.
The café will be held at 5 p.m. in the Maine Center for Biomedical Innovation on the MDIBL campus, 159 Old Bar Harbor Road, Salisbury Cove, Maine.
The winter series will be held on the second Monday of the month through May, when the bimonthly summer series will begin. For more information, please visit mdibl.org/events/ or call 207-288-3147.