Development of Seaweed Culture System Technologies to Support Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture and Sea Vegetable Aquaculture in New England Coastal Waters
The project will be a collaborative effort between the University of New Hampshire, the University of Connecticut, the Bridgeport Regional Vocational Aquaculture School and Ocean Approved, Inc.
This is a collaborative project funded by N.H. Sea Grant and CT Sea Grant. These objectives are for the combined project and the work on the objectives is divided between the two labs.
“Seed stock” will be collected from wild populations of the selected species. The optimization of conditions that can trigger and/or delay transition from one life history stage to the next will be accomplished through a series of laboratory experiments. The system for mass culture of young plants will be designed as a modular system that can be easily expanded to a commercial scale. Additional design considerations will include reliability, simplicity and cost effectiveness. The systems for Porphyra and Chondrus will be developed at the UNH Aquaculture Research Center.
Newly Developed Seaweed Aquaculture Methodologies Incorporated into Vocational School Training
RESPONSE: In 2012, researchers funded by N.H. and Connecticut Sea Grant developed the methodology necessary to seed longlines with spores from the seaweed Gracilaria that are expandable to a commercial scale.
RESULTS: The Bridgeport Regional Vocational Aquaculture School is using this methodology to grow Gracilaria on longlines at its lease site in Long Island Sound and has incorporated the nursery technology into its training programs for students.
RECAP: Sea Grant-funded researchers developed the methodology to grow Gracilaria on longlines, which is now being used at an aquaculture school to train students for future jobs in aquaculture.
Researchers Establish Successful Lab Culture Methodologies for Marine Seaweeds
Seaweeds are capable of extracting fish waste products from the environment and can be incorporated into integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) systems. However, the absence of a commercial source of young cold-water marine seaweeds to grow in IMTA systems provided a substantial barrier. In 2012, with funding provided by NHSG, researchers determined the optimum conditions needed for lab culture of seaweed including kelp, Gracilaria and two species of nori. Researchers also determined the optimum conditions needed to get reliable maturation and spore release in one more species of nori (Pyropia leucosticta) that has a complex life history. By establishing successful lab culture methodologies, this research will enable aquaculturists to culture seaweeds for use in commercial scale production.
Protocol Developed for Seaweed Bladelet Storage
NHSG-funded researchers developed a protocol for the successful short- and long-term storage of bladelets of the seaweed Porphyra umbilicalis (nori) through freezing. This protocol helps kelp aquaculturists by providing security in case subsequent spore releases are unsuccessful and serving as a back-up supply in case of crop failure.
The overall goal of the collaborative UNH and UConn project has been to develop the technology necessary for the development of commercial scale seaweed nurseries that can provide young plants for integration into fish and/or shellfish aquaculture operations. We have already succeeded in meeting this goal for kelp (Saccharina latissima), which as a result of the project is now being grown commercially by Ocean Approved LLC (OA) in Portland, Maine. It is an economic benefit for OA as they have been harvesting and successfully marketing kelp through a number of retail outlets including Whole Foods. It is an societal benefit in that consumers have a source of locally grown fresh/frozen sea vegetables. Since seaweeds use nutrients from surrounding waters for growth, harvesting kelp effectively removes excess nutrients from the ecosystem.
Available from the National Sea Grant Library (use NHU number to search) or NH Sea Grant
- Nettleton, J., A. Mathieson, C. Thornber, C. Neefus and C. Yarish (2013). Introduction of "Gracilaria vermiculophylla" (Rhodophyta, Gracilariales) to New England, USA: estimated arrival times and current distribution. Rhodora 115(961):28-41, January 2013.
- Green, L. and C. Neefus (2014). The effects of short- and long-term freezing on "Porphyra umbilicalis" Kützing (Bangiales, Rhodophyta) blade viability. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 461:499-503, 2014.
- Green, L. and C. Neefus (2015). Effects of temperature, light level, photoperiod, and ammonium concentration on Pyropia leucosticta (Bangiales, Rhodophyta) from the Northwest Atlantic. Journal of Applied Phycology 27(3):1253-1261, June 2015.
- Green, L. and C. Neefus (2015). Effects of temperature, light level, and photoperiod on the physiology of Porphyra umbilicalis Kutzing from the Northwest Atlantic, a candidate for aquaculture. Journal of Applied Phycology, published online 12 September 2015.
- Green, L. (2014). Physiological studies of cultured New England nori, Porphyra umbilicalis Kutzing and Pyropia leucosticta (Thuret) Neefus & J. Brodie, and implications for use in integrated multi-trophic aquaculture systems. Doctoral dissertation, University of New Hampshire.
- New England seaweed culture handbook: nursery systems (2014). Sarah Redmond, Lindsay Green, Charles Yarish, Jang Kim and Christopher Neefus.
- Seaweed culture in New England (6 part video series) (2013)