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Seagriculture 2018

7th International Seaweed Conference

6-7 November, Galway, Ireland

Meet your conference speakers

Matt Dring

Professor Emeritus, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

 "Twenty years on: Seaweed aquaculture research in Northern Ireland"

Matthew Dring is Emeritus Professor of Marine Biology at Queen’s University Belfast.  He was awarded a PhD in Algal Physiology by the University of London for work on photoperiodism in Porphyra and studied photomorphogenesis and photosynthesis in seaweeds for over 25 years, especially in relation to the colour of underwater light.  More recent research has concentrated on developing aquaculture techniques for seaweeds to provide raw material for food, medicine, energy and bioremediation.  He is author of the student textbook The Biology of Marine Plants (Cambridge University Press, 1991) and is currently Editor-in-Chief of Botanica Marina.


Seaweed aquaculture research started at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) in January 1998 with the award of an EU-FAIR grant for the “development of techniques and economic analysis for the aquaculture of the edible red seaweed Palmaria palmata”. Later that year, we started a project to investigate the “use of seaweeds as biofilters for inorganic nutrients and heavy metals in the effluent from sewage treatment works”, in which Fucus serratus was the main species grown. Another EU project, SEAPURA, running from 2001-2004, explored “species diversification in seaweeds purifying effluents from integrated fish farms” and we cultivated a range of red algae, including Delesseria sanguinea, Chondrus crispus, Dilsea carnosa and Osmundea pinnatifida on a small scale. The increasing interest in seaweed aquaculture in Europe resulted in a major grant from the Marine Institute of Ireland in 2008 to develop and demonstrate “viable hatchery and ongrowing methodologies” for three seaweed species with commercial potential (Palmaria palmata, Laminaria digitata and Porphyra spp.), and the output included two new volumes in the Aquaculture Explained series on Palmaria and L. digitata. In the last 10 years, we have been partners in two further EU projects, MABFUEL and ‘EnAlgae’, and in the BBSRC/Innovate UK project ‘SeaGas’, which have all been concentrated on biogas production from cultivated algae. In particular the SeaGas project focuses on Anaerobic Digestion of Saccharina latissima with food waste, the potential for a biorefinery approach and environmental impacts of cultivation. This talk will review our experiences over this period, and will present some of the latest data on growth of kelp species cultivated in Strangford Lough.