Joth Davis, a senior scientist at the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, recently unspooled 150 feet of line holding thousands of tiny spores of kelp into Hood Canal in Washington State. A colleague dived underwater and affixed the line to a buoy.

It’s an unusual botany project: The bull kelp seedlings will eventually form thick, slimy ribbons of brown seaweed — and in the process take up carbon dioxide and other nutrients. The researchers hope kelp may provide offer a local strategy for easing the effects of ocean acidification. The five-year effort, involving many partners, is funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

Kelp “has the potential for taking up a significant amount of carbon out of the water column. The question is: Is that going to be significant to help abate ocean acidification?” said Richard Feely, senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle, which will help monitor the project. (AP)