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Carbon, climate links lead seaweed symposium program

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

A split shot showing seaweed below the water and blue sky and trees above
ISS2023 will discuss the role of seaweed above and below the water. Photo: Joanna Smart

The potential for seaweeds to sequester carbon is a hot topic globally and will be the focus of several key presentations at the International Seaweed Symposium (ISS) 2023.

Co-chair of the regional ISS2023 organing committee Dr Catriona Hurd says the role of seaweed in climate change is the focus of at least 30 presentations across the 5 days of the event, which runs from 19-24 February 2023, in Hobart, Australia. This includes both the effects on species and seaweed's role in providing climate solutions.

World-leading researcher in the field of blue carbon Professor Dorte Krause-Jensen from Aarhus University, Denmark, is a plenary speaker, with a presentation on ‘Macroalgae, blue carbon and nature-based solutions'.

Dr Albert Pessarrodona, from the University of Western Australia, has also organised a mini-symposium as part of the main event on ‘Carbon sequestration by macroalgae’. There will be 6 speakers from diverse backgrounds, including ocean biogeochemistry, seaweed ecology and physiology, followed by a discussion panel.

Other climate-related topics will include the loss of kelp forests and restoration efforts, the effects of rising ocean acidification and water temperatures on seaweed growth and seaweeds for methane reduction in ruminant livestock.

Science and industry forum

“Climate impacts and solutions are a significant part of the symposium this year, but there are many other topics as well, including production and processing techniques, and product development,” says Dr Hurd.

“This symposium has been running for more than 70 years and is the leading international forum for scientists and industry participants, working together to develop the seaweed industry globally.

“Presentations range from the details of molecular biology and physiology of different species, through to the development of value chains, the socio-impacts of the industry and the role of Indigenous communities.

“We also have sessions on agricultural applications including biostimulants, as well as efforts to tackle invasive seaweed species,” says Dr Hurd.

There will be 450 presentations with 6 concurrent sessions and 150 poster presentations. The program is in the process of being finalised, with regular updates online at the ISS 2023 website.

View from above of the ocean surface, showing seaweed growing on lines  and a small boat
Seaweed industry development is an important part of the ISS2023 program. Photo: Sea Forest

ISS registration and more

Early bird registrations for the symposium have been extended to 9 December 2022, with both in-person and online participation available.

Sessions will also be recorded, and delegates will have access for up to 3 months following the event.

Dr Hurd says registration numbers have already exceeded expectations, given the growing interest in seaweeds around the world and the creation of new products and markets, but also increasing production challenges.

Ahead of the symposium, 3 planning workshops will be held on Sunday 19 February 2023. One workshop will discuss best practice guidelines for research investigating how ocean biota are responding to a changing ocean.

The second is a summit to set a global target and strategy for kelp restoration. The third will help develop a global strategy to address gaps in the taxonomic knowledge of seaweed.

Seaweed growing from the ocean floor towards the ocean surface at the top of the image
Tasmania's kelp forests have largely disappeared. Photo: Joanna Smart

A range of cultural activities will also be held in and around Hobart in conjunction with the conference, including a tour of the Australian National Algae Culture Collection at CSIRO, guided Indigenous and nature walks, cruises and a diving trip.

For more information about the program and related events and to register visit the ISS 2023 website. is an initiative of the Melbourne-based communications company Coretext, which is a media partner of ISS2023.

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