BURSE aims at quantifying burial of kelp carbon in soft sediments on deep water.


Kelps are perennial algae that make up dense forests on shallow water (0-30 m depth). Each kelp can be up to 3-4 m and is attached to hard substratum by a holdfast. Kelp forests are three dimensional habitats and by a high production they support rich and diverse communities of other algae and invertebrates. Kelp forests also serve as nursery areas and feeding grounds for coastal fish, sea birds and mammals.

Only 20% of the total primary production is however utilized within the system and most of the kelp material produced is exported to shallow and deep water where it fuels other ecosystems. An unknown part is also buried in sediments on deep water and thereby removed from the short carbon cycle. Kelp forests may thus be important in carbon sequestration. In BURSE we will quantify burial of kelp carbon in soft sediments on deep water in a Norwegian fjord. Norway has a long coast which supports a considerable part of the total European stocks of kelps and BURSE will contribute to increased knowledge on the role of these important blue forests.


  • In this project IMR and UiO will perform gravity core sampling of sediments from stations with high and low accumulation of kelp debris. The cores will be used to study sediment burial as a carbon sink.
  • Outcomes includes calculations of kelp carbon burial in soft sediments, a scientific peer review paper on kelp carbon fate and outreach to society.
  • The project is a cooperation between IMR, UiO, GRID-Arendal and NIVA.

Photos from the project, click to view large:

November 2017

Field sampling


Sediment analysis and publication


Kjell Magnus Norderhaug, Institute of Marine Research