Inside Alphabet X’s new effort to combat climate change with seagrass

During a Zoom call, Davé filmed a black-and-white video of the chaos that ensued at feeding time, as salmon scrambled to devour the food released into the cage. The naked eye could not derive much meaning from this scene. But computer vision software tags each fish with tiny colored tiles to identify individuals swimming through the frame or forcing them to open their mouths to feed.

Davé says fish farms can use that data in real time, even in an automated way. For example, they may stop putting food in the cage when the fish stop eating.

The camera and software can also pick up other important information, including the weight of the fish, whether they have reached sexual maturity and whether they have any signs of a health problem. or not. They can detect spinal deformities, bacterial infections and the presence of parasites called sea lice, which are often too small for the human eye to see.

“From day one, we knew that aquaculture would leave us wet and dry,” said Grace Young, Tidal’s chief scientist. “We knew it would be a stepping stone to solving other difficult problems.”

Confident it has made a viable commercial application, Tidal is now turning its attention to gathering information about natural ocean ecosystems.

“Now is a big moment for us,” she added, “because we can see how the tools we have built can apply and make a difference in applications.” other ocean industries”.

Restoring our shores

Seagrasses form thick grasslands that can run for thousands of miles along shallow shores, cover about 0.2% of the world’s ocean floor. They provide nutrients and habitat for marine populations, filter pollution and protect coastline.

Plants have the ability to photosynthesize, making necessary food from sunlight, water, and dissolved carbon dioxide in seawater. They store carbon in their biomass and distribute it into seafloor sediments. They also help capture and bury carbon in other organic matter that passes by.

Globally, seagrass beds can be as isolated as 8.5 billion tons organic carbon in seafloor sediments and to a much smaller extent in their biomass. At high levels, these grasslands recede and store about 110 million additional tons each year.

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