Aquaculture International

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 1161–1170 | Cite as

Depth matters for bivalve culture in integrated multitrophic aquaculture (IMTA) and other polyculture strategies under non-eutrophic conditions

  • Carlos Sanz-Lazaro
  • Victoria Fernandez-Gonzalez
  • Pablo Arechavala-Lopez
  • David Izquierdo-Gomez
  • Elena Martinez-Garcia
  • Pablo Sanchez-Jerez


Bivalve cultivation, in single cultivation or in polyculture (including integrated multitrophic aquaculture; IMTA), is generally limited to eutrophic waters. We carried out a modeling study to test if, under meso- and oligotrophic conditions, depth could be a key factor for bivalve productivity associated to IMTA and other polyculture strategies. We applied the model Farm Aquaculture Resource Management (FARM) at three strata of the water column in two coastal fish farm areas in the Mediterranean Sea, using water column variables sampled seasonally to estimate the potential mussel production. According to FARM, mussel production was high in both areas and, in some cases, almost doubled when mussels were cultured below 25-m depth compared to shallower levels. Phytoplankton abundance is expected to notably influence mussel production compared to particulate organic matter. Thus, in meso- and oligotrophic stratified waters, where chlorophyll maximum is relatively deep, depth can be a key factor for the productivity of mussel cultivation. The obtained results could help to maximize the production of suspension-feeding bivalve cultivation and, therefore, the expansion and development of sustainable aquaculture in non-eutrophic marine waters.


Aquaculture FARM model Mussel Oyster Vertical stratification 



We are grateful to the comments of two anonymous reviewers that helped to improve the manuscript and Allison Moore for checking the English.

Funding information

This work has been funded by the project SUMERGI+DOS (CTAQUA1-12I) from the Centro Tecnológico de Acuicultura de Andalucía, the project CGL2015-70136-R from the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad y Ciencia from Spain, and a Juan de la Cierva research grant to C. S. (Ref. JCI-2012-12413) from the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad y Ciencia from Spain.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos Sanz-Lazaro
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Victoria Fernandez-Gonzalez
    • 3
  • Pablo Arechavala-Lopez
    • 3
  • David Izquierdo-Gomez
    • 3
  • Elena Martinez-Garcia
    • 3
  • Pablo Sanchez-Jerez
    • 3
  1. 1.Departamento de EcologíaUniversidad de AlicanteAlicanteSpain
  2. 2.Multidisciplinary Institute for Environmental Studies (MIES)Universidad de AlicanteAlicanteSpain
  3. 3.Departamento de Ciencias del Mar y Biología AplicadaUniversidad de AlicanteAlicanteSpain

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