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Temporal variation in the incidence of seaweed health problems affecting farmed Kappaphycus striatus in relation to environmental conditions in shallow waters

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Abstract

A fixed off-bottom Kappaphycus striatus var. sacol farm was monitored for 12 months (June 2019 to May 2020) and the monthly incidence of disease and pests was recorded. Meteorological information in situ, from the nearest synoptic station and online data were collected to determine the relationships between temporal environmental changes and the incidence of seaweed health problems. The results showed that “ice-ice” disease (IID) was observed in dry months (i.e., from February to April 2020) and was significantly influenced by increased irradiance, salinity, sea surface temperature, and wind speed (p=0.004‒0.030). Also, the IID incidence was positively affected by reduced precipitation, storm surface run-off, water current speed, and inorganic nutrient (nitrite and ammonia) levels (p=0.002‒0.019). In comparison, epiphytic filamentous algae (EFA) were observed in wet months (i.e., from September to December 2019), with incidence varying from low to very high (≤25–100%) as the culture progressed. EFA incidence was significantly influenced by reduced salinity and increased storm surface run-off and inorganic nutrient (nitrate and ammonia) levels (p=0.006‒0.040). An intense tropical cyclone struck the farming area in December 2019, resulting in partial die-offs of farmed seaweed. Such seaweed health problems are expected to become more prevalent in the coming years as weather disturbances brought about by changing weather patterns become more frequent and intense. Hence, mitigation and preventative approaches must be fully considered to sustain the industry’s growth while protecting the livelihoods of many coastal communities dependent on seaweed farming.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to Mr. Ronnie Arbigoso, owner and operator of the seaweed farm. Special thanks to Mr. Rolando Linihan, Mr. Edcel Jed Samson, and Ms. Hazel Coleen Gaya for their assistance during the sampling activities. We are grateful to Mr. Clark Daniel Macalde and Dr. Jon P. Altamirano for their help in providing the map photo and statistical analysis, respectively.

Funding

This study was supported by the United Kingdom Research and Innovation–Global Challenges Research Fund (UKRI-GCRF) “GlobalSeaweedSTAR” Programme (Grant No. BB/P027806/1) and implemented at SEAFDEC/AQD with a Study Code: FH-01-S2017T.

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All authors contributed to the conceptualization of the study; JPF, RCS, JPM, MRJL, VMENF, and AQH implemented the study; JPF, JaB, DB, SR, GDS, JuB, GMW, VTB and AQH analyzed the data, including the preparation of tables and figures; and all authors reviewed the manuscript. AQH is the Philippine project leader and spearheaded all activities undertaken in the country.

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Correspondence to Joseph P. Faisan Jr. or Anicia Q. Hurtado.

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Faisan, J.P., Sibonga, R.C., Mateo, J.P. et al. Temporal variation in the incidence of seaweed health problems affecting farmed Kappaphycus striatus in relation to environmental conditions in shallow waters. J Appl Phycol (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10811-024-03242-w

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