Kelp Production

This project investigates innovative strategies to mitigate ocean acidification at shellfish hatcheries in the face of changing ocean conditions.

Project Dates: April 2018 – October 2018
Funding Amount: $25,000
Students Hired: 1

NIC student research assistant Emily Lohn examines kelp tissue at Manatee Holdings Ltd.

Project Summary

The goals of this project:

  1. demonstrate the feasibility of sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) culture within a commercial shellfish hatchery
  2. assess whether the kelp significantly affects seawater quality at the hatchery

NIC will compare water quality (pH, aragonite, alkalinity, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pCO2) between kelp and control tanks. We predict that seawater pH, aragonite and dissolved oxygen levels will be higher in the kelp tanks.

Project Outcomes

This project tested the feasibility of sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) culture in land-based tanks at a commercial shellfish hatchery. The overall goal was to demonstrate how kelp could be used to improve water quality for the hatchery, specifically parameters related to ocean acidification.

Kelp grew most successfully in areas of the tanks with the highest water flow, such as near air stones and in-flow valves. Compared to kelp grown in the open ocean, the biomass yield was smaller and the growing season was shorter in the tanks.

Key challenges to land-based kelp culture were identified including: generating high flow to keep water temperature down and improve kelp growth/quality, and removing biofilm that formed at the water surface in the late spring when the air temperature and light availability were highest.

A trial examining ocean acidification and other water quality parameters in kelp and control tanks and is planned for early 2019.

Research Team

Allison Byrne
Allison Byrne, Lead Researcher
As a Research Associate to our Coastal Aquaculture program, Allie joined the team in 2016 and is working with Dr. Cross on several aspects of the research. She learned the value of collaborative aquaculture research through her Master’s degree from the University of Victoria, part of a Canada-wide research network made possible through partnerships with industry, government, and academia.
Emily Lohn
Emily Lohn, NIC biology student