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Maine lab to research kelp farming to combat climate change

February 3, 2021 GMT

EAST BOOTHBAY, Maine (AP) — A Maine science center has received a grant of almost $900,000 for research into ways that aquaculture of kelp can be used to combat climate change.

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences received the money from World Wildlife Fund with support from Bezos Earth Fund. Representatives for Bigelow said Wednesday the research will focus on the role kelp can play as a “sponge” that soaks up carbon dioxide.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolves into the ocean and makes the water more acidic, which damages ecosystems, Bigelow representatives said. Aurora Martinez Ricart, a co-investigator on the project, said kelp has “great potential to reduce carbon dioxide concentration and seawater acidity with benefits for the shellfish industry and surrounding coastal areas.”

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Bigelow is partnering with Island Institute and University of New Hampshire on the project.