TESTING AQUACULTURE TECHNIQUES ON THE GROWTH RATES OF MACROALGAE IN TARPON BAY, SW FLORIDA
To determine the viability of macroalgae aquaculture in Sanibel, Florida, three testing sites along with two different techniques (enclosed vs. exposed) were established. All three testing sites were equipped with two macroalgae aquaculture lines. One line featured exposed macroalgae attached by fishing line and the other held macroalgae samples enclosed in mesh bags. The goal of this project was to see which method would lead to the greatest amount of algal growth, as well as which techniques were the most influential for aquaculture success in Tarpon Bay.
The project spanned a total of four weeks during the months of July and August. Each line had three different macrolagae species: Gracilaria Bursa-Pastoria, Gracilaria Tikvahiae, and Ancanthophora spicifera that were alternated on the line. A YSI sonde was used to gather data, such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity, and turbidity, as a way to monitor the daily conditions at the three sites. Plaster of Paris Clod Cards were also attached to the aquaculture lines to illustrate flow rates at the sites. Lastly, a laboratory tissue strength test was performed on all three species of algae to determine the algae’s ability to fracture.
After performing the various tests, the species Gracilaria bursa-pastoris proved to be the most durable, while also having the highest growth rate as measured with volume displacement. This species appears to be the best macroalgae of those tested for aquaculture practices in Tarpon Bay. From the results, areas that are shallow with increased flow rates provide the best growing conditions.