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Good News: The Australian ocean forest offsetting carbon emissions

BY Alice Gawthrop

22nd Sep 2022 Good News

Good News: The Australian ocean forest offsetting carbon emissions

Growing at high speeds and absorbing huge amounts atmospheric carbon dioxide, could seaweed farms be the key to fighting climate change? Scientists in Australia think so

In Australia, scientists are harnessing the power of seaweed to absorb CO2 at a rate that rivals the Amazon rainforest!

What is seaweed good for?

Kelp is one of the most types of seaweed, and it grows at great speed. Giant kelp, for example, can grow up to 50 cm per day, while bull kelp can grow up to 14 cm per day. Seaweed uses photosynthesis to absorb CO2 and grow biomass, and globally seaweed is thought to absorb nearly 200 million tonnes of CO2 per year

Pia Winberg, a marine ecologist at the University of Wollongong and founder of Australia’s first land-based commercial seaweed farm, suggests that growing more seaweed could be an essential tool in the fight against climate change

"Globally seaweed is thought to absorb nearly 200 million tonnes of CO2 per year"

“If we used the infrastructure we have in the ocean and created seaweed islands, we would actually eliminate a lot of the climate change issues we have today,” she told the BBC

The Great Southern Reef

The Great Southern Reef is a 8,000 km network of reefs in Australia, with golden kelp forming the backbone of the network. Other species of kelp that are found in the network include giant kelp and bull kelp. These ocean forests form carbon sinks, natural systems that store atmospheric carbon dioxide

The Great Southern Reef project, run by an independent team of science, media and education professionals, is working to promote the recognition and stewardship of Australia’s kelp forests. 

Research in the journal Current Biology suggests that raising microalgae in 0.001 per cent of seaweed-growing waters worldwide and then burying it at sea could offset the carbon emissions of the global aquaculture industry. 

Read more about the Great Southern Reef here

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