Key Lectures

Key Lecture 1:
The integrated culture of seaweeds in waste waters – environmental drivers and product options

Rocky de Nys, Professor
MACRO - the Centre for Macroalgal Resources and Biotechnology, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia

The integrated culture of seaweeds in waste waters from marine industries is a particularly attractive model for sustainability, reducing contaminant export while delivering biomass as a resource. However, the reality of delivering an integrated and sustainable solution can differ significantly from providing a conceptual model. The success of delivering the integrated culture of seaweeds in aquaculture waste waters is dependent on profitability, with key drivers being monetized environmental and product values. A case study is presented of the delivery of the integrated culture of seaweeds with intensive land-based aquaculture of shrimp, adjacent to the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, with a focus on delivering environmental compliance and product options. The selection of species, optimization of productivity and assessment of biomass quality to deliver a target product have been key to its success. These are described in detail highlighting the bespoke nature of integrating the culture of seaweeds into aquaculture waste streams and the partnerships required to do so. The development and assessment of future product options, ranging from human foods to bioenergy, are also described in detail as they have been explored to maximize the value of a single biomass resource through the delivery of multiple products.

Key Lecture 2: The seaweed hydrocolloids industry 2015: Updates, requirements and outlook.

Hans Porse, 
InterColloids, Vanloese, Denmark
Brian Rudolph,  
CP Kelco ApS, Lille Skensved, Denmark

The seaweed hydrocolloids industry, comprising of agar, alginate and carrageenan extracts, continues to grow on the order of 2%-3% per year and with the Asia-Pacific region increasingly dominating the raw material and manufacturing aspects of the industry. Geographic overviews, also in a historic perspective, of seaweed raw material availability including prices and consumption, manufacturing capacities & utilizations and sales of extracts will be presented. Some current and future industry dynamics, requirements and changing structures for instance Indonesia's increasingly dominant role within farming of agar and carrageenan bearing seaweed species, randomly imposing of seaweed harvest restrictions or ban on exports, creation of a global certification standard for seaweed and supply-demand dynamics for seaweed versus future global population will be presented as well. The industry is increasingly being commoditized and China has become an important and in many cases dominant factor within all types of seaweed hydrocolloids being manufactured and some explanations to this and strategic response by the rest of the industry will also be touched upon. Also presented are some areas where the seaweed industry could need help from the scientific community. The main challenge is the year-long general seaweed deterioration experienced in cultivated species – how are the strains improved and revitalized and can the cultivation techniques be improved further?. There is a general trend towards sustainability and although seaweeds are sustainable there is interest in development of greener processes. Background and suggestions will be discussed.

Key Lecture 3:
A Brightmoon Perspective

Qin Yimin
State Key Laboratory of Bioactive Seaweed Substances, Qingdao Brightmoon Seaweed Group, China

On 30th September 2015, the Chinese government approved the establishment of “State Key Laboratory of Bioactive Seaweed Substances” at Qingdao Brightmoon Seaweed Group, which is the largest manufacturer of seaweed based products in the world. This presentation offers a panoramic view of the various activities being carried out and planned for the future concerning the research, development and commercial applications of bioactive seaweed substances. After a brief analysis of the common scientific and technological problems in this industry, the presentation then introduces the three main areas of research work at the State Key Laboratory, i.e., extraction, functional modification and applications of bioactive seaweed substances in drugs, functional foods, nutraceuticals, biomedical materials, cosmetics and marine fertilizers, where the key properties and functional benefits are critically analyzed. The presentation ends with an overview of the comprehensive research and development platforms at Brightmoon Seaweed Group, with an invitation for scientists and engineers around the world to carry out joint research, development and commercial applications of bioactive seaweed substances.

Key Lecture 4: Shifting genetic baselines in marine forests

Ester A. Serrao, Assistant Professor
Marine Ecology and Evolution, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal

Climate-driven range shifts shape the geographical distribution of genetic diversity of algal forests. By analyzing genetic markers and developing species distribution models, we inferred the effects of range contractions and expansions on the spatial distribution of the gene pool of species. Our results show that range expansions create large areas of homogeneous gene pools. Range shifts provide also opportunities for introgressive recombination of genomes at contact zones. Pockets of unique genetic diversity are presently located in shrinking climatic refugia. The high genetic structure and differentiation of populations of marine algal forests from distinct regions provides powerful tools for the identification and tracking of specific strains for aquaculture purposes and to identify genetically appropriate source populations for restoration as well as the genetic source of new colonizations.

Key Lecture 5: TBC

Rene Redzepi, Chief and Co-Founder, NOMA

Key Lecture 6:
Shaken and stirred: the fundamental role of water motion in regulating resource acquisition, growth and productivity of seaweeds.

Catriona L. Hurd, Associate Professor
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.

Water motion physically controls nutrient acquisition, growth and productivity of seaweeds via its action in regulating the thickness of the diffusion boundary layer (DBL), and generating drag forces that can stimulate seaweed metabolic activity. This talk will consider how water motion controls the uptake of essential nutrients (nitrate, ammonium, dissolved inorganic carbon) and the removal of metabolic waste produces (e.g. O2). In slow flows typical of wave-sheltered bays or within dense seaweed beds, mixing is slow and nitrate supply from seawater may be limiting for seaweed growth, but other sources of nitrogen such as recycled ammonium and urea might offset the low nitrate supply. I will consider evidence for reduced productivity in slow flows and its causes such as photorespiration due to O2 accumulation with the DBL. Positive effects of thick DBLs include the retention of excreted nitrogen at the seaweed surface and the protection of calcifying seaweeds from ocean acidification. Findings will be discussed in relation to seaweed aquaculture.

Symposium Dinner Talk: Those tasty weeds

Ole G. Mouritsen, Professor
Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, University of Southern Denmark