Development of Sustainable Seaweed Aquaculture on Alabama’s Gulf Coast

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2016: $9,392.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2019
Grant Recipient: Auburn University
Region: Southern
State: Alabama
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Dr. William Walton
Auburn University

Annual Reports


  • Animals: fish


  • Animal Production: general animal production
  • Crop Production: nutrient cycling
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, new business opportunities


    Seaweed production in the United States has gained attention among farmers and scientists alike due to the high nutritional value, bioremediation properties and potential for integrated aquaculture systems with fish, shrimp and shellfish. The northern Gulf of Mexico is an ideal location for seaweed aquaculture to provide oyster farmers with a secondary product and to reduce eutrophication in the surrounding ecosystem. A variety of macroalgae species found in Alabama were evaluated in terms of their suitability for culture. The candidate species include, Ulva fasciataGrateloupia taiwanensisHydropuntia secunda (formally Gracilaria secunda), and Chondria littoralis. Each species was cultured from an algal seed stock and grown on suspended long­lines in coastal Alabama waters at two different sites. Seasonal algal growth rates were compared between open water culture sites and sites around oyster cages, for all four tested species. Nutrient composition of the cultured seaweed was analyzed to determine the nutrient removal capacity and nutritional value. The outcome of this work was presented to oyster farmers, chefs, scientists and consumers to investigate the market acceptance and potential for seaweed aquaculture on the Gulf Coast as a standalone farm or integrated system with oysters.

    Project objectives:

    Objective 1. Compare the growth rate of Ulva fasciataGrateloupia taiwanensisHydropuntia secunda, and Chondria littoralis cultured in the vicinity of oyster cages and in the open ocean.

    Objective 2. Compare variations in the seasonal growth rate of Ulva fasciata Grateloupia taiwanensisHydropuntia secunda, and Chondria littoralis across each season.

    Objective 3. Evaluate the nutrient removal efficiency and nutritional value of each species.

    Objective 4. Present the results to oyster farmers, chefs, scientists and consumers to assess the market acceptance and potential for seaweed aquaculture on the Gulf Coast.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.