Effects of Ocean Warming Across the Life Cycle of Bull Kelp

Bull kelp floating in water and under a microscope

Thursday, March 3, 2022
4:30 p.m. PT




Check out this video to watch the Effects of Ocean Warming Across the Life Cycle of Bull Kelp.

Environmental Speaker Series

Brought to you by the College of the Environment and the Salish Sea Institute in partnership with the WWU Alumni Association

Bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) forests have been declining over the last century in some areas of the Salish Sea, particularly those that experience elevated temperatures and low current velocities. Bull kelp have a biphasic life cycle with two very distinct free-living stages: a large diploid sporophyte, which can reach the surface of the ocean, and microscopic haploid gametophytes, which live on the bottom of the ocean. Temperature stress can impact the entire life cycle of bull kelp. In addition to high temperatures, low nitrogen concentrations can be stressful for marine primary producers, yet these stressors often occur simultaneously in temperate marine ecosystems, making it difficult to unravel their effects. Using temperature-controlled experiments in the lab, Dr. Weigel's research explores the consequences of ocean warming for bull kelp a) gametophyte growth and reproductive success, and b) adult sporophyte blade growth and photosynthetic physiology. In addition, this research explores the combined effects of heat stress and nitrogen limitation on the physiology of bull kelp sporophyte blades.

More information about the speaker series is available here, and past Environmental Speaker Series recordings are available here.

We are excited that we will be live-streaming from a WWU classroom for the webinar for our off-campus audience. Due to the pandemic, only WWU students will be in-person for the presentation but we look forward to welcoming you all to class virtually.

We have moved to a new event system! We encourage you to create a new profile and login when you register for this and future events, however, you are not required to login to register. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at alumni@wwu.edu and we will help you update your information. Thank you for joining us, and we'll see you soon!

Brooke Weigel

Dr. Brooke Weigel


Dr. Brooke Weigel is a postdoctoral researcher at UW-Seattle’s Friday Harbor Labs. Brooke received her MS degree from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and her PhD from the University of Chicago, where she started studying kelp forest ecology on Tatoosh Island, Washington. Brooke’s postdoctoral research aims to improve our understanding of how environmental stressors impact the physiology and reproductive success of canopy-forming kelp in the Salish Sea. In addition to studying kelp, Brooke is passionate about creating artwork (currently printmaking), mentoring student research, making science more inclusive and accessible, and communicating her research to the public.

Questions and Accommodations

Stefan Freelan

Stefan Freelan is the coordinator of the Environmental Speaker Series. Send email to  stefan@wwu.edu or call (360) 650-2949 if you have any questions or comments.
There will be auto-captions available for this event.