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A quick method of quantifying seaweed or kelp in the field

Before scientists can understand the impact that macroalgae, commonly called seaweed or kelp, has on habitats on the bottom of bays and estuaries, they need to be able to tell how much of this plant material is growing in a given a given space. In the past, quantifying macroalgal biomass has entailed a time-consuming and costly exercise of removing large amounts of macroalgae, followed by rinsing, sorting, drying and weighing the plant material. In response to this problem, two Western Ecology Division scientists developed a method that allows researchers to sample macroalgae using a volumetric estimate of macroalgae biomass. They believe that the methodology will allow researchers to quickly estimate macroalgal biomass in the field, thus saving time and expense, and also permitting larger areas of study. (Contact B.L. Boese, 541-867-5019; boese.bruce@epa.gov)

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