Kelp Kulture is a speaker series co-created by members of a UCLA grant program with the intention of building conversation around the invaluable kelp forest ecosystem and its intricate links to various cultures, professions, and academia. Each quarter we host talks with speakers from different backgrounds connected through a common thread: kelp. The question we seek to answer: how many different ways can we look at the kelp forest to better understand our involvement with this habitat and its abundant resources?
The team is comprised of researchers from the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB), Law, and Art departments at UCLA. We explore the many facets of kelp in human society, including in mitigating climate change. One of our goals is to develop gene-editing technology in kelp, which will enable researchers to begin studying gene-function relationships in brown algae organisms. Simultaneously we are exploring the legal landscape and viewpoints of the public surrounding the implementation of genetically-modified kelps.
Prof. Siobhan Braybrook
Project Lead, Primary Investigator Braybrook Lab
Prof. Tim Malloy
Project Lead, School of Law
Timothy Malloy is a professor at the UCLA School of Law, where he holds the Frank G. Wells Endowed Chair in Environmental Law. His research focuses on risk governance and on the use of science to enhance policy. In particular, he explores how informal norms, private initiatives and formal regulation can be used to address concerns and challenges relating emerging technologies, including nanotechnology and synthetic biology.
Phd student, Braybrook Lab
Jess works in the Braybrook lab studying algae. Her project focuses on the interaction between brown algal cell walls and the microbiome. The highly independent evolution of brown algal cell walls has given rise to unique cell wall components, including a type of polysaccharide (called fucoidan) which has demonstrated antibacterial activity against several human pathogens. Jess’s research aims to decipher how the antibacterial properties of this cell wall polysaccharide affect the recruitment and composition of the brown algal microbiome, and how this interaction might promote algal health.
Dr. Steven Beuder
Post-doc, Braybrook Lab
Steven researches how climate change affects Giant Kelp at the molecular level, and is developing gene-editing technology in Giant Kelp. Additionally, he oversees undergraduate projects focused on better understanding developmental processes in Macrocystis early-life stages, including the role of actin in cell growth and division.
Artist, MFA Design | Media Arts UCLA
Emma is a mixed-media artist researching epistemologies of marine ecology and working with scientists to translate climate data into visuals. Emma co-curates the Kelp Kulture speaker series and focuses on the ethics of implementing new technologies to restore kelp forests.
Phd student , School of Law
Hannah aids Professor Tim Malloy in his legal research on the anticipatory governance of future kelp technologies
Phd student, IoES
Madeleine conducts research on public perception and policy related to kelp and climate change in California. In collaboration with the larger research team, she studies stakeholder perspectives and public opinion on kelp forest habitat restoration, aquaculture, and marine-based carbon sequestration.