A major hurdle facing Tasmania’s growing seaweed aquaculture industry is low nutrients in our waters which can limit the growth of cultivated seaweeds. Salmon aquaculture faces the opposite challenge where excess nutrients produced by farming can have negative environmental effects. Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) is the idea that nutrients released into the environment by species like salmon can be used by species that need to uptake nutrients from the water, such as seaweeds, by growing them nearby to each other (known as co-culturing). The result can be positive for the environment and production.
This honours research project aims to begin investigating the feasibility of co-culturing salmon and seaweed in Tasmania. The first step is knowing whether cold-water seaweeds can effectively use nutrients released into the environment by salmon farming. Using a stable isotope analysis method, the project will investigate how a range of seaweed species with different growth and reproductive strategies uptake nutrients in both laboratory and real-world situations.
Honours student: Riana Bell