An Inside Look Into Blue Evolution's Seaweed Hatchery
By Tamsen Peeples, Alaska Mariculture Manager at Blue Evolution
It's hatchery season for kelp!
…and we rely on the natural life cycle of wild kelp to grow our own. In the fall, kelp becomes fertile and produces tiny spores that are released into the ocean to swim around and settle onto new habitat. I go out snorkeling and collect these fertile sections of kelp and then get those spores to settle onto twine wrapped around pipes in our hatchery.
These spores grow first into microscopic gametophytes, which then fertilize each other and turn into adorable little baby kelp blades! Over the next six to eight weeks I’ll tend to these baby kelp plants by changing the water in their tanks, adding fertilizer, and making sure no other algae or tiny critters get in to delay their growth.
Once the plants reach about 2mm in length they will be transplanted, or 'outplanted' to the local farms to spend the next four to six months growing in their natural environment.
Pretty crazy to think that these tiny little blades only need four months to grow up to nine feet in length! But for now, I'll keep a close eye on the billions of little baby seaweed blades under my care.