Citizen Science: Monitoring the Nutritional Quality of Kelp

A diver pops up from a kelp bed.
A diver explores a kelp bed.

Sitka Sound Science Center Research Biologist

Working with Sitka Sound Science Center, we will learn about the seasonal nutritional biochemistry of giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera. As an important subsistence food, researchers at the University of California Santa Cruz want to assess the nutritional quality of giant kelp by monitoring the total tissue content of carbon and nitrogen present in their blades. The results of this research will be essential to understand the annual nutritional value of this plant to grazers and human subsistence users, as well as provide insight on the energetics of the food web in our region.

As part of the Summer Field Science School, we will snorkel with research biologists and learn about the importance of kelp forests and how kelp nutritional content can change over time and throughout their home range. We will process kelp samples in the lab and discuss how changing ocean conditions can impact kelp forests and why we are diligently monitoring them.

Last updated: May 8, 2018

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