- 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 fasciata, Grateloupia taiwanensis, Hydropuntia 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.
Objective 1. Compare the growth rate of Ulva fasciata, Grateloupia taiwanensis, Hydropuntia 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 taiwanensis, Hydropuntia 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.