New Zealand Aquaculture Facility Looks to Seaweed’s Potential

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Facility for Aquaculture Research of Macroalgae

Standing in front of the new Facility for Aquaculture Research of Macroalgae, from the University of Waikato (L-R): Joseph Macfarlane, Prof. Chris Battershill, Mr Tamati Tata, Prof. Alister Jones, Dr Marie Magnusson and Prof. Margaret Barbour.

A new aquaculture facility is now operating in Tauranga, New Zealand thanks to a $13 million algal biotechnology research project, funded by the Tertiary Education Commission’s Entrepreneurial Universities program and the University of Waikato.

The research project in marine and freshwater macroalgal biotechnologies focuses on the diversification of species for aquaculture; improvement of water quality in aquatic systems using macroalgal bioremediation technologies; and the development of innovative macroalgal bioproducts.

The 1000sqm facility is the first in New Zealand to provide state-of-the art infrastructure for seaweed cultivation from nursery stages to grow-out and aims to deliver closed life-cycle aquaculture production of seaweed.

“The facility and algae produced here will form the basis of cutting-edge and interdisciplinary research. It is about a sustainable diversification of New Zealand’s aquaculture industry and it provides a strong foundation point for the blue economy,” said Professor Alister Jones.

The University of Waikato Coastal Marine Field Station and the new algal research aquaculture facility are ideally situated for the developing aquaculture economy in the region, while the research being undertaken complements the new Aquaculture major offered at the University of Waikato’s Tauranga campus.

Leading the algal biotechnology research project is seaweed biologist Dr. Marie Magnusson, alongside seaweed chemist and husband Dr. Christopher Glasson, ecologist Rebecca Lawton and a world-class team of research fellows, technical officers and postgraduate students.

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