Seagriculture EU
29 - 30 June 2022
Bremerhaven, Germany

“Seeding farms big and small: Creating a reliable, cost-effective, and scalable direct seeding solution”

Adrian Macleod, Macroalgal Cultivation Researcher, SAMS, UK

About speaker:

Dr Adrian Macleod is a marine scientist working to develop methods and technologies necessary for the large-scale cultivation of seaweeds. He manages two cultivation sites owned and operated by the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) where methods developed through controlled laboratory trials can be tested and optimised in the field.

The cost of seeded material, either through on-site or outsourced production, is often seen as a constraint to the development of seaweed aquaculture in Europe. High operational costs represent a significant economic burden for cultivators, narrowing profit margins and intensifying current operational and market uncertainties. The mechanical application of fertilised gametophyte fragments to cultivation materials with the use of a hydrocolloid binder provides a low-cost seeding solution that is rapidly scalable. However, “direct-seeding” is not widely regarded as a reliable method to seed cultivation materials and guarantee adequate yield performance. To advance this, SAMS have developed and tested direct seeding protocols in the field and combined these with controlled mesocosm experiments to understand and optimise the successful attachment of juvenile seaweeds. In this presentation I will compare results from single-step and two-step seeding protocols which demonstrate the vulnerability inherent with binder solutions used to date and discuss improvements we have made to alter binder chemistry to protect sporophytes throughout the attachment phase. Finally, I will provide an overview of our approach to the production and delivery of direct seeded materials which is tailored to customer requirements and improved circularity of cultivation practices.