Summer School 2021

Seaweeds, and their role in our future


Emeritus Professor John Bolton, Senior Research Scholar, Department of Biological Sciences University of Cape Town

Seaweeds form the basis of shallow water ecosystems in coastal seas, supporting high biological diversity. What are they, and how are they adapted to life in shallow seas? South Africa and Namibia share a significant kelp forest ecosystem. Kelp forests are rapidly disappearing in many world regions, but ours are proving surprisingly resilient thus far. The many impacts of human activity and climate change on kelp forests will be discussed. Recently, global aquaculture has surpassed the production of human food through capture fisheries. Most of this aquaculture takes place in East Asia, and much of it is seaweed. How do you grow seaweed, and what is it used for?  In this course Professor Bolton, whose research team has recently become a partner in the EU-funded research project, ASTRAL (All Atlantic Ocean Sustainable, ProfiTable and Resilient AquacuLture), will predict the future of seaweed use, including seaweeds and nutrition, integrated aquaculture and the circular economy, the biorefinery of seaweeds, and their role in the future of ‘blue carbon’.



  1. Seaweeds: their biology and environment
  2. Kelp forest ecosystems and their uncertain future
  3. The seaweed aquaculture revolution

This course will be offered on the Microsoft Teams platform. Participants will be sent a link.


Recommended reading

Anderson R.J, Stegenga H, Bolton J.J. 2016. Seaweeds of the South African South Coast.

Blamey L.K. and Bolton, J.J. 2018. The economic value of South African kelp forests and temperate reefs: past, present and future. Journal of Marine Systems, 188: pp. 172–181.

Seaweed Revolution: A manifesto for a sustainable future.

The Seaweed Site: Information on marine algae


Date: Monday 11–Wednesday 13 January 
Time: 11.15 am