Resource Science

The health of wild seaweed shapes our future.

Have you ever observed seaweed up close? It’s teeming with life. Fish, sea urchins, crabs, birds and numerous other animals use the seaweed as a source of nourishment, a feeding ground and a shelter. Having watched all these amazing living creatures for decades, growing and coexisting in an abundant and lush environment, we recognize what a gift these intertidal habitats are.

For that reason, we have and continue to rigorously monitor the influence our harvesting practices and operations have on seaweed and the broader ecosystem. Learn how our resource science team is making sure the future of this natural resource remains bright.

Biomass assessment and resource science

Effective preservation of any natural resource relies on comprehensive, up-to-date information. Using the world-leading technical resources at our disposal, Acadian Seaplants achieves a comprehensive understanding of the seaweed stock, its distribution and its overall health.


Across each of our harvesting regions worldwide, we conduct long-term monitoring of the stock and conduct research on the potential impact of the harvest on the habitat architecture and associated fauna. Using state-of-the-art technology, such as high-resolution satellite imagery and drone photography, we map the shoreline’s distribution of seaweed beds. Extensive ground truthing is also carried out to determine the biomass in each bed. All this information is finally fed into a GIS platform for an accurate and functional visualization of the information.


In all our harvesting jurisdictions we follow a precautionary approach to the harvest. We use an area-based management strategy and subdivide the coastline into small management units. Each management unit has its own harvest quota that is set using a harvest rate well below the annual rate of re-growth. Close interaction with government departments and agencies, and a strict adherence to their guidelines, ensures the sustainability of the seaweed resource in all our harvesting areas.

Habitat research & monitoring

Any organization that operates in coastal ecosystems has an important role to play in their preservation. Changes to ecosystem structures and functions can have rippling effects, so it’s important for our Marine Scientists to ensure the ongoing health and integrity of the ecosystems where we operate.
We monitor how changes in algal biomass or canopy structure impact invertebrates, fish and other marine fauna. When assessing the harvest’s potential impact, we often partner with local research institutions to evaluate and validate the minimal impact of the harvest on these organisms.

Teams in the field

To play our part in conservation, we have deployed our team of Marine Scientists in Canada, the US, Ireland, Scotland and other potential harvesting sites around the globe. It is their responsibility to manage these precious renewable resources, protecting various seaweed species and ecosystems for future generations.


Our Marine Scientists monitor seaweed on a regular basis, confirming their regrowth and health after each trimming and guiding our company’s plan for sustainable harvest activities. We sample the seaweed – no matter the conditions – to ensure that we are doing our part as environmental stewards.

Our Marine Scientists


Our ability to balance commerce and conservation relies on the knowledge and passion of our Resource Science team. Through their dedication, we have been able to act as stewards for seaweed and their related ecosystems. Here’s a glimpse of our Resource Science Team:

Dr. Raul Ugarte

Joined ASL: 1995

Location: New Brunswick

Education: Ph.D. from Dalhousie University.


Few people have contributed to the management of seaweed resources more than Dr. Raul Ugarte. On a day-to-day basis, he is responsible for our global Marine Resource Science Program. The assessments and monitoring programs he pioneered within Acadian Seaplants helped us to establish sustainable harvesting rates and practices to preserve the resource and habitat integrity. His continuing collaboration with universities on scientific studies and peer-reviewed articles in leading scientific journals have increased awareness and uncovered new information about Ascophyllum nodosum and their ecosystems. Through his vision and work, we have grown to be stewards of seaweed all over the world.

Dr. Jean-Sébastien Lauzon-Guay

Joined ASL: 2014

Location: Nova Scotia

Education: Ph.D. from the University of New Brunswick


Dr. Lauzon-Guay brings vast experience to Acadian Seaplants having worked on a variety of ecological systems from mussel aquaculture in PEI to urchin and kelp interactions in Nova Scotia. He is responsible for our global research activities on seaweed resources. His experience as a Research Scientist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada further contributes to our interactions with government departments and agencies. With over 25 peer-reviewed publications and as a contributing editor to a leading marine ecology journal, Dr. Lauzon-Guay provides Acadian Seaplants with the experience and knowledge required to oversee our Marine Resource Research activities.

Dr. Bryan Morse

Joined ASL: 2018

Location: New Brunswick

Education: Ph.D. from the University of New Brunswick


Dr. Morse has a variety of field research experience in the marine environment that he brings to his role at Acadian Seaplants. He is responsible for Resource Science in North America. Most recently he completed his PhD research focused on tracking the movements of American lobsters in nature to better understand their seasonal migrations, daily movements and population connectivity. Prior to this his research was focused on marine invertebrate ecology in both the intertidal and subtidal environments. He has published a number of scientific manuscripts in leading marine journals from his wealth of work and experience.

Alison Feibel

Senior Resource Biologist


Joined ASL: 2017

Location: Maine

Education: M.Sc. from Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University


Alison’s work experience includes research on the effects of nutrient pollution on benthic and pelagic algae and delivering marine science programming to students across Maine. She is responsible for resource monitoring activities in the coastal waters surrounding Maine. She brings a local perspective to our Resource Science team in Maine and, in addition to her extensive field work, has worked to expand Acadian Seaplants community outreach in the fishing communities where we operate.

Britton Skuse

Field Assistant


Joined ASL: 2018

Location: Maine

Education: B.Sc. in Biology from Unity College in Maine


As ASL Maine’s Field Assistant, Britton works with the resource science team to assess rockweed along the Maine coastline. Britton grew up in Northeastern Michigan and made her way to Maine to attend Unity College. She completed her bachelor’s degree in biology in 2018 and began working seasonally for Acadian Seaplants that summer. Britton loves discovering new things each day by working in the intertidal zone and is humbled to be part of a science team committed to preserving and properly managing such an important natural resource.

Micheál MacMonagail

Resource Scientist – Western Ireland


Joined ASL: 2015

Location: Ireland

Education: Ph.D. from the National University of Ireland, Galway


Micheál began researching seaweeds in 2010. After finishing his undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from Dublin City University (DCU), Micheál completed his MSc in Bioenergy in 2010 and an MPhil in Crop Stress Biology from Aberystwyth University, Wales in 2015. During his time in Wales, Micheál started his own small business producing a seaweed-based plant biostimulant that he developed while at University. This was what really progressed his career as he had to learn many of the ins and outs of the seaweed industry that you would never learn in a lecture hall. Micheál is currently completing his PhD in seaweed resource management from NUIG and has become a familiar face to Harvesters on the west of Ireland’s shoreline.

Toni headshot

Toni Kennedy

Resource Field Technician – Western Ireland


Joined ASL: 2021

Location: Ireland

Education: M.Sc. from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology


Toni’s interest in seaweed piqued after working in Thailand in coral conservation where she was a research assistant working on various field research projects. She began studying seaweeds in her final year of college at the Galway – Mayo institute of Technology. Upon completion of her B.Sc. in Freshwater and Marine Biology in 2020 she started volunteering her time as a research assistant sampling seaweed on the West Coast of Ireland. Outside of work, Toni enjoys swimming, walking, hiking with friends and family, and playing Camogie for her local Camogie Team.

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