Help Our Kelp! IoES Santa Monica Bay Kelp Research Project
Research suggests that as humans continue releasing carbon dioxide into our atmosphere our oceans are changing in ways that may drastically affect marine life. Between 1/4 and 1/3 of all the carbon dioxide released into our atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans. After it is absorbed, the CO2 goes through a series of chemical reactions, resulting in water that has a lower pH. This lower pH corresponds to increased acidity. More acidic waters have many harmful effects on marine life, including affecting their growth and development.
For this project, we are partnering with The Bay Foundation and a PhD student from UC Davis to monitor the restored kelp forests off the coast of Palos Verdes. The Bay Foundation has spent over 15 years researching and restoring these kelp forests, with the aim of revitalizing the area’s productivity. For the next several months, our team will be monitoring these restored forests in order to assess the feasibility of kelp forests as refuge for marine life from the harmful effects of ocean acidification.
We will be directing our efforts specifically on tracking the sea water chemistry and its changes through time. In addition, we will monitor phytoplankton to see what, if any, effect they have on productivity. Hopefully as our project progresses we will also be able to consider the sustainability, community, and policy that surrounds both Palos Verdes and these kelp forests!
Our team is the UCLA Undergraduate Research Team for Ocean Acidification in Palos Verdes Kelp Forests. We are working in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES) on our Senior Practicum for Environmental Science. This Practicum Project is designed to push us out of our comfort zones and get us working out in the real world! Not only are we working with a real-world client, but we are also doing research that will yield a real-world solution.
To complete our project we need your help! The support you provide will help us purchase research equipment and travel to the Bodega Marine Laboratory to process our samples. We area also hoping to plan a community outreach event for the community of Palos Verdes - ocean acidification isn’t just a problem happening halfway around the world, it is something that is happening in our backyards! By spreading awareness about this issue and learning more we can all help to be a part of the solution.
We cannot thank you enough for your support and are looking forward to sharing our progress and our conclusions with you! Stay connect and keep updated by following our blog at https://kelpteam.wordpress.com/