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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

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.

Collette Robertson

Resource Biologist

 

Joined ASL: 2016

Location: Nova Scotia

Education: B.Sc. in Marine Biology from Dalhousie University

 

Collette brings a wide range of on-water experience to the science team as well as her keen interest in algal taxonomy. She is responsible for field work and data collection in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and for prioritizing on-water safety. She has worked in the field assisting various research labs to collect ecological data at Dalhousie University to study both macroalgae and microalgae. Additionally, Collette has crewed an offshore research vessel in the North Atlantic. Collette’s field skills and marine expertise enable the team to efficiently and safely collect biological data in the field.

Michéal MacMonagail

Resource Scientist – Western Ireland

 

Joined ASL: 2015

Location: Ireland

Education: Education: Ph.D. candidate at National University of Ireland, Galway

 

Michéal began researching seaweeds in 2010. After finishing his undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from Dublin City University (DCU), Michéal 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, Michéal 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. Michéal is currently completing his PhD in seaweed resource management from NUIG and has become a familiar face to Harvesters on the west of Ireland shoreline.

Malcolm Gibson

Resource Biologist – Scotland

 

Joined ASL: 2017

Location: Scotland

Education: B.Sc. from University of Dundee, Scotland

 

Malcolm has previous experience in marine industries including scientific engagement with fin-fish aquaculture in both Australia and his homeland of Scotland. This ranged from fish health to sustainability of site selection for aquaculture developments. He now is responsible for resource monitoring activities within all UK lease areas to ensure sustainability across all aspects of the harvest.  As an outdoor enthusiast Malcolm, can usually be found outside of work in the ocean, surfing or sailing, near his home on the island of Berneray or on his bike in the Scottish Highlands.

At Acadian our science has a practical purpose.

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