Obscure pink seaweed may help reduce global carbon emissions

Asparagopsis seaweed is the marine scientist’s hope to reduce 14.5 percent of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations. What if the cows stop burping methane gas? This can be achieved by feeding the world’s 1.5 billion cows with this tropical pink seaweed. The problem is that nobody knows exactly how this seaweed grows.

What exactly are the problems?

We don’t understand how it reproduces,”said Julie Qiu, a spokeswoman for Australis Aquaculture, a Massachusetts company that hopes to grow the seaweed commercially. “This has never been done before.”

There is simply not enough of it growing in the wild to feed domesticated ruminant animals. Currently, it can be obtained only by scavenging for it in tropical areas, like off the coast of Australia. That supply is limited. Still there’s no noticeable impact on methane emissions.

The research still continues

Few Australian researchers in Vietnam are racing to understand the red algae seaweed. The team hopes to farm it in ocean pens and were starting a project to try to grow it off the Australian coast. Marine biologists at the University of California San Diego are trying to grow the seaweed in indoor pools.

The Sunshine Coast is actually an epicenter of biodiversity for … asparagopsis,” Nick Paul, an associate professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast and the lead of its seaweed research group, said in a university video. “You would actually see it if you go snorkeling or are at the beach.”

Still there are few issues, “It has a finicky life cycle,” said Jennifer Smith, a marine ecologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, who is leading the university’s effort to grow asparagopsis. “And it’s also pretty delicate and fragile. It’s not something you can just throw out in the ocean.”


Source: Accuweather

Cover Image Source: Rock, Waves, Beach

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