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Economic seaweed experts coming to UH Hilo

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Date: Thursday, April 11, 2002
Contact: Dr. Karla McDermid (808) 933-3906

For Immediate Release

Top seaweed experts from throughout the Pacific Basin will attend a workshop on the taxonomy and diversity of economically valuable Pacific seaweeds in the Pacific Basin at the University of Hawai`i at Hilo May 22-29, 2002. The workshop is by invitation only and will feature research, training, discussion, seaweed collecting trips, and guest presentations.

The workshop will be held in UH Hilo's new Marine Science Building. Countries represented by the experts include: Australia; Chile; China; Japan; Thailand; Fiji; Guam; South Korea; the U.S.; and Vietnam. UH faculty and marine botany graduate and undergraduate students will join these experts for intense phycological training, research, and discussion.

The group's first goal will be to clarify the taxonomy of genera of known economically valuable seaweeds that occur in the Pacific. Second, the workshop will work to train the next generation of seaweed professionals in the proper techniques for accurate identification and thoughtful interpretation. Finally, the workshop will help identify species for which there may be new biomedical, aquacultural, or other commercial uses.

Research findings will be presented at the end of the week. A manuscript of the findings will be published by Sea Grant and distributed nationally and internationally.

This taxonomy of economic seaweeds workshop is the ninth in a series of biennial workshops that were initiated by Dr. Isabella Abbott of UH Manoa in 1985. Workshops have been held at the University of Guam, Institute of Oceanology at the Chinese Academy of Science in China, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at UC San Diego in California, the Hokkaido University in Japan, UH Manoa, the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Malaya in Malaysia, the Faculty of Fisheries at Kasetsart University in Thailand, and the Institute of Oceanography in Vietnam. "This is the first time Hilo has hosted the taxonomy of economic seaweed workshop, and I think it is going to put Hilo on the map for seaweed
research," said Dr. Karla McDermid, associate professor of marine science at UH Hilo.

Hawai`i Sea Grant, UH Hilo Seed Grant, and California Sea Grant are providing funding for this year's workshop.

For more information, please contact McDermid at (808) 933-3906.

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