AbstractAnthropogenic nitrogen input is the leading cause of increasing marine eutrophication. Cultivating seaweeds at large scales may provide a viable solution for mitigating eutrophication especially when nitrogen extraction is achieved as an added environmental benefit of biofuel and food production. As the first step to promoting and implementing this solution, it is critical to quantify and assess the effectiveness of nitrogen removal by existing seaweed farms. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Hood Canal Mariculture Inc. conducted a case study by applying a coupled modeling-monitoring approach to quantify nitrogen bioextraction by a one-hectare commercial sugar kelp farm in Hood Canal, WA. Through this two-year effort, the project team conducted intensive field monitoring of water quality parameters at the farm site and subsequent laboratory analysis. Meanwhile, the team applied a coupled hydrodynamic-macroalgal growth model to simulate kelp growth and nitrogen bioextraction over the two kelp growing seasons. The model results showed an overall good comparison with field monitoring data and showed the effectiveness of nitrogen removal by kelp farms. The established modeling-monitoring approach can also be transferable for supporting broader research activities in macroalgal farming and eutrophication mitigation.
Published: June 30, 2022