Around the world, massive kelp forests are rapidly declining due to coastal development and erosion, warming waters, invasive species, poor water quality, pollution, and overfishing. Nova Scotia has lost 85-99% of their kelp forests over the past 4-6 decades, putting their fisheries and livelihoods in jeopardy. Reef Life Foundation is developing a new method for restoring kelp using nanotechnology artificial reefs with the ocean science company IntelliReefs CAN and Dalhousie University.
Nova Scotian kelp forests are declining rapidly. Kelp forests are productive, biodiverse, and biomass-dense ecosystems on the planet and provide food, nutrients, and habitat for commercially important fisheries. Kelp forests have been shown to dissipate wave force and protect coastal populations from storms. We are rapidly losing this ecosystem due to climate change and coastal development around the world, putting our food, economic, and physical security at risk.
Working with IntelliReefs, we are building back habitat that attracts and retains kelp plants in the face of climate change. Our ongoing research will focus on how to alleviate environmental stressors for these important ecosystem engineers and provide immediate, healthy habitat for biologically and commercially important fish, shellfish, and crustaceans. We are using a new nanotechnology called Oceanite to attract target species, while repelling unwanted, invasive, and harmful species.
Not only do kelp forests enhance fisheries & provide a home for ocean species, they are also are a significant global carbon sink. Researchers have found that kelp forests along the southern coast of Australia sequester over 1.3-2.8 teragrams of carbon per year. This region alone contributes ~3% of the total global carbon sequestration. Long term reforestation of kelp beds can help to offset our rising carbon emissions and potentially reduce the rate and severity of projected climate change.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).