Kelp in Washington: Why You Must Care!

Tom Mumford

University of Washington, Friday Harbor Labs

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Start Time & Date

Archived video of this presentation.

Kelp are a group of 23 species of large seaweeds found throughout the Salish Sea. We will explore their fascinating biology, and then explain how they form a critical habitat for so many invertebrates and fish, as well as create the base of the food web for not only the Salish Sea nearshore but also for deepwater and terrestrial ecosystems. And it is becoming increasingly apparent that kelp are critical to many fisheries, birds and mammals. We will also look at how kelp are directly important to you, providing food, fertilizer, bio-fuels, and obscure but critical chemicals. And kelp can help with mitigating ocean acidification, sequester carbon, and provide nutrient remediation. When you tie all these all together, you will really know why you must care.


Thomas Mumford, Speaker

Tom Mumford received a BA from Wabash College (1966) and served in the US Army from 1966-1969. He received a PhD in Botany from the University of Washington (1973) then spent three years at UBC on a postdoctoral fellowship before joining the Washington Department of Natural Resources in 1976. At WDNR he researched the cultivation of seaweeds for the production of phycolloids and food, and developed and managed programs for management and inventory of seaweeds and seagrasses on state-owned aquatic lands. He served on the Nearshore Science Team for the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project. He has taught in various universities and consulted overseas in seaweed aquaculture. Since his retirement in 2011, he is focusing on researching marine algal biodiversity, the role of kelp in marine ecosystems, on kelp restoration, and on teaching. He was lead biologist for an ARPA-E project to grow kelp for biomass. He helped in developing the Puget Sound Kelp Conservation and Recovery Plan, and acts in an advisory role for the Puget Sound Restoration Fund’s project for using kelp to mitigate for OA. He sits as an alternate on the Strategic Advisory Council for the OCNMS and is on the Science Advisory Committee for the NW Straits Initiative.  

Photo of Setchell Kelp

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The Environmental Speaker Series is hosted by the College of the Environment at Western Washington University.

The Series is free and open to the public.

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Presentations are held each Thursday at 4:30pm On-campus and ONLINE.


Due to the pandemic, the in-person presentations are not open to the public. However, the talks will be live-streamed ONLINE for the off-campus audience.


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