Brandon Rus

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Spring 2016


The coastal ecosystems of Southern California and the Channel Islands are falling victim to what scientists and researchers have referred to as “devil weed.” Sargassum horneri, a native alga to the rocky reefs of the Northwestern Pacific, has found its way from the coast of Japan across the Pacific to the coast of California. S. horneri poses threat to the vulnerable Giant kelp Forests (Macrocystis pyrifera) and removal is critical in order to preserve the livelihood of the natural ecosystem. The challenge is how to accomplish this removal. This paper investigates the viability of marketing Sargassum as a desirable product, which would incentivize its removal; essentially creating a self funded marine conservation initiative. The methodology of this project was comprised of four major constituents. First, the legal implications that have been set forth by the state agencies was thoroughly researched, in order to pursue an initiative that would be deemed legal. Second, a team of American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) credentialed divers had to be assembled in order to physically remove Sargassum from the reefs. Once the Sargassum had been collected, it was incorporated as a primary ingredient to a compost pile, with the intent to ultimately be sold. Developing a business plan, investigating the viability of creating an entrepreneurial conservation initiative was the final step of this project, and is designed to provide a fundamental approach on how to carry out a continuous effort behind the removal of “devil weed,” and the conservation of our marine environment.


Department: MES

MPS track: CZM

Location: Brown Rudnick LLP & Los Angeles Waterkeeper

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