Published September 16, 2020

A Kelp Harvest in Harpswell Sound

heidi harvesting kelp

A kelp harvest in Harpswell Sound in mid-June grew out of research conducted by Marie Caspard ’20, through both Marine Science Semester work and an independent study investigating the ocean acidification mitigation potential of kelp on seaweed biology with Professor of Biology Barry Logan. “I was interested in the biology, but I also wanted to explore the aquaculture portion,” said Caspard. As more and more fishermen and lobstermen have expanded their operations to include kelp (and shellfish) aquaculture, she thought it would be a good time to explore the kelp aquaculture process and what some opportunities might be for its use. “Unfortunately, the College closure limited the amount of data we could collect as the kelp grew,” she explained, “But we were able to glean some blade measurements when we harvested.

The kelp aquaculture site was located right by the docks at Bowdoin’s Schiller Coastal Studies Center. The harvested kelp included both a sugar kelp and a skinny kelp variety, about 400 pounds in total. “Whatever wasn't taken to the dining hall was given to Jeremy Tardif at the Bowdoin Organic Garden, who covered his raised beds with kelp to dry out and mix into mulch,” said Caspard.