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UH botanist says she's excited by new research on limu and coastal ecosystems

limu celia smith.jpg
Celia Smith
UH Mānoa
Limu palahalaha

The Conversation's week-long salute to seaweed capped off with some groundbreaking science about limu.

When HPR last checked in with University of Hawaiʻi botanist Celia Smith a few years back, she was on a mission to spread the word about the good deeds of Isabella Abbott, who many people regard as the "First Lady of Limu." UH Mānoa is close to naming its newest science building in honor of Abbott, Smith said.

Smith is currently working on a project that uses limu to track the path of wastewater from cesspools. She said the data will help policymakers refine the management of cesspools and septic tanks.

Smith said she was thrilled when former Gov. David Ige declared 2022 “The Year of Limu." The proclamation marked the importance of limu, or seaweed, from the perspective of culture, science and ecology.

She said the recognition has been a key part of helping to broaden the community's understanding of the significance of limu.

"This is a really important turning point in the management of marine resources here in the state for the people of this place to declare that limu are important,” she said.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Dec. 23, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at
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