Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 815–824 | Cite as

Comparison of macroalgal (Ulva and Grateloupia spp.) and formulated terrestrial feed on the growth and condition of juvenile abalone

  • William J. Mulvaney
  • Pia C. WinbergEmail author
  • Louise Adams


The culture of abalone is a growth industry in Australia that primarily utilises terrestrial crops to produce formulated pellet feeds. The use of cultivated macroalgae in place of such feeds could provide for better environmental, nutritional and/or economic outcomes for this industry. However, direct comparison trials using macroalgae and formulated crop feeds are rare, and it is therefore difficult to ascertain the benefits and costs of each feed type. This study compares the benefits to growth and performance of the cultivated hybrid abalone cross (Haliotis rubra 1814 Leach and Haliotis laevigata 1808 Donovan) which was fed one of eight dietary treatments, including two commercially formulated pellet feeds and six mixed macroalgae dietary treatments. Macroalgae dietary treatments comprised the three macroalgae species Grateloupia turuturu Yamada, Ulva australis Areschoug and/or Ulva laetevirens Areschoug. Four replicate tubs, each containing 40 juvenile abalone (10–15 mm), were used to test each dietary treatment over a 12-week period. Macroalgae dietary treatments provided for significantly higher specific growth rates of abalone compared to formulated feeds, by orders of magnitude, for both length (>0.2 % compared to <0.1 % day−1, F 7, 31 = 22.3, p < 0.0001) and weight (from <0.4 to >0.8 % day−1, F 7, 31 = 24.4, p < 0.0001). In addition, abalone health and condition increased, and the proximate composition of abalone tissue had a higher carbohydrate/protein ratio, higher ash content and lower lipid content. These findings suggest that the juvenile abalone may benefit from macroalgae diets in comparison to two formulated feeds as a result of optimal proximate composition of the algae biomass and improved condition of the abalone.


Abalone Aquaculture Grateloupia turuturu Nutrition Seaweed Specific growth rate Ulva australis Ulva laetevirens 



The project would not have been possible without the facilities that were generously made available at Abtas Seafoods. A big thank, in particular, to Nick Savva, Bruce Hawkins and Honnie Harris from Abtas who provided a lot of support for the project. We are also grateful for the laboratory facilities made available at the Australian Maritime College, University of Tasmania. Further, we are grateful to Dr. Gary Saunders at the Centre for Environmental and Molecular Algal Research (CEMAR), Department of Biology University of New Brunswick, Canada, for genetic identification of G. Turuturu, and Dr. Lisa Kirkendale at Shoalhaven Marine and Freshwater Centre, University of Wollongong, for genetic identification of Ulva spp.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • William J. Mulvaney
    • 1
  • Pia C. Winberg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Louise Adams
    • 2
  1. 1.Shoalhaven Marine and Freshwater Centre, Institute for Conservation BiologyUniversity of WollongongNowraAustralia
  2. 2.Louise Adams (Ward), National Centre for Marine Conservation and Resource Sustainability, Australian Maritime CollegeUniversity of TasmaniaLauncestonAustralia

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