UMaine’s Marine Algal Aquaculture Class Visits CCAR

Dr. Brawley and student preparing a gametophyte solution

UM’s Marine Algal Aquaculture class, SMS 491, got hands-on in our macroalgae nursery. Led by Dr. Susan Brawley, an expert in marine algae reproduction, the students participated in the process of seeding spools with Alaria esculenta gametophytes.

Student spraying gametophyte solution onto spools

A. esculenta, or winged kelp, is a species of kelp that is native to the coast of Maine. It is popular among farmers and foodies alike due to its fast growth and desirable nutrient and flavor profiles.

Using a process developed by Dr. Brawley, the students sprayed a solution of A. esculenta gametophytes onto special twine that is wrapped around PVC pipe. The students then placed these prepared spools in tanks in a climate-controlled chamber where, along with all of the required nutrients, the light intensity, photoperiod, and temperature will be closely managed to ensure optimum growth.

SMS 491 students measuring light intensity

Kelp is farmed in Maine using seed spools, like those prepared by the SMS 491 students, to plant lines on offshore lease sites. The sturdy lines will support the overwinter growth of the kelp crop, which will be harvestable in the spring.