Sustainable Aquaculture for California – Make it Local
Making Babies: Restoring the Native Olympia Oyster (Ostrea lurida) Population in Elkhorn Slough
With $32,000 of new 2019 funding and collaboration with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve and Elkhorn Slough Foundation, MLML has partnered with Kerstin Wasson to provide new Olympia oysters to Elkhorn Slough. This is an attempt to rebuild the small population of Olympia Oysters into a large enough biomass to self-populate and grow the population. In 2018, MLML spawned and grew Olympia oysters that were later transplanted into Elkhorn Slough. With new funding we hope to be more successful in greatly expanding this important Slough inhabitant in fall of 2019.
MLML 15-Tank Setup and Seaweed Growth Testing
In 2019, MLML (Mike Graham) will perform rapid response experiments to gather initial data on seaweed nutrient uptake to parameterize initial growth models and design future multi-input tank experiments. The response of seaweed growth and productivity to nutrient inputs is difficult to study in natural systems due to (1) reliance of seaweeds on numerous essential nutrients, (2) high natural variability in nutrient concentrations, and (3) positive and negative correlations in concentration among numerous nutrients. As such, MLML will design a meso-scale tank experiment, whereby variability in seaweed growth and productivity will be studied in response to variability in individual nutrients (added to artificial seawater) under variable environmental conditions (e.g. light, temperature, salinity, etc.). Prior to such detailed studies, however, MLML will perform a simple natural-seawater nutrient depletion experiment to estimate the initial rates of nutrient uptake and identify the rank in which nutrients are depleted from natural seawater.
Scallops: The Next Species to Culture at MLML
Most of the cultured scallops that are eaten in the U.S. come from Japan and China, so developing the methods to farm scallops in California would reduce the carbon footprint associated with shipping scallops across the oceans and would allow us to buy local. So MLML is working with local aquaculture companies to develop methods for rearing native scallops. This will entail establishing a hatchery and nursery, growing the microalgae to feed these filter-feeders, and experimenting with various environmental factors to formulate optimum growth. In 2019, we will begin a number of experiments with this new species to be included in our aquaculture facility. Pictured here are the first scallops brought in for spawning and the microalgae room with the ready food supply.