, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 143-147

Sustained high yields of Gracilaria (Rhodophyta) grown in intensive large-scale culture

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Gracilaria ferox J. Agardh was grown continuously in large, outdoor tanks under a pulse-fed nutrient regime for four years. Productivity ranged from 21.4 to 59.2 g d. wt m−2 d−1 with a mean of 39.7 g d. wt m−2 d−1 over the entire study period. Because the cultures were maintained under non-nutrient limiting conditions, productivity was regulated primarily by seasonal changes in light and temperature, which accounted for 75% of the variability of growth in algal yields. Salinity ranged from 31.0 to 36.5‰ and had insignificant effects on growth within this range. The original vegetative strain was maintained over the entire study without the need for additional supplementation from field-collected stock. Because of the pulse-fed nutrient supply, epiphytic growth on the target species was negligible (< 3% total biomass) throughout the study. The yields attained in this study rank among the highest reported for any intensively managed photosynthetic crop and demonstrate the feasibility of growing red macroalgae like Gracilaria at a sustained high yield in a large-scale, land-based culture system.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.