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Seaweed Could Be the Key to Cleaning Up Polluted Waters
Posted By Timon Singh On December 16, 2010 @ 2:45 pm In Green Products,Innovation,Recycled Materials | No Comments
During the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster , there were numerous methods discussed on how to clean up the polluted water, ranging from microbes  to underwater robots . However, Charles Yarish, a Stamford professor of ecology  and evolutionary biology , believes that seaweed could be a key tool in purification. Yarish believes that seaweed could not only be used to clean up pollution from human sources, but also natural waste. His method, which uses seaweed as its primary material, is known as ‘extractive aquaculture’ or ‘bioextraction’, and he believes this process could transform water areas into “healthier, more productive, and more economically viable” resources.
“Nutrient-enriched systems can contribute to harmful algal blooms, which deplete oxygen in the water,” said Yarish to PhysOrg . “Shellfish and seaweeds can provide good ecosystem services by extracting organic and inorganic nutrients from seawater.”
Yarish isn’t the first person to hit upon the idea of using seaweed to clean water, and says that cultures in ancient Egypt and China have used it in the past. However, Yarish believes that by bringing animals and plants from different trophic levels – different levels on the food chain – into the same place, aquaculture can function more like a natural ecosystem.
For his research, Yarish and his colleagues have received nearly $200,000 in funding from the Connecticut Sea Grant College Program  and the NOAA Small Business Innovation Fund  both to grow seaweeds for human consumption and to develop his cleaning method.
His team’s efforts have already generated interest, with his techniques being adopted by Ocean Approved , a sea vegetable company from Portland, Maine. Yarish is working with Ocean Approved to establish a kelp culture that grows on ropes suspended in the water near the company’s mussel farm.
Yarish is thinking ahead however, and is planning to establish and support conservation projects as part of a $2.4 million initiative funded by the Long Island Sound Futures Fund. 
via PhysOrg 
Lead image © PhysOrg 
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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/how-seaweed-can-help-water-purification/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://inhabitat.com/how-seaweed-can-help-water-purification/seaweed/
 Gulf of Mexico oil disaster: http://www.inhabitat.com/index.php?s=gulf+oil+spill
 microbes: http://inhabitat.com/microbes-in-the-gulf-may-eat-more-gas-than-previously-thought/
 underwater robots: http://inhabitat.com/mits-seaswarm-robots-could-clean-up-gulf-oil-spill-in-a-month/
 Charles Yarish, a Stamford professor of ecology: http://www.stamford.uconn.edu/profile_YarishCharles.htm
 evolutionary biology: http://www.physorg.com/tags/evolutionary+biology/
 PhysOrg: http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-seaweed-trend-purification.html
 Connecticut Sea Grant College Program: http://www.seagrant.uconn.edu/
 NOAA Small Business Innovation Fund: http://www.oar.noaa.gov/orta/docs/NOAA_2011-1_dtd_10-13-2010.pdf
 Ocean Approved: http://www.oceanapproved.com/
 Long Island Sound Futures Fund.: http://longislandsoundstudy.net/about/grants/lis-futures-fund/
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