Research Projects
NSERC Canadian Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture Network

Research Projects

Project Title:
Quantifying the capture and conversion efficiencies of species being considered for
organic extraction in open-water IMTA systems (D1P1)

Project Description:
The potential of an organism as an organic extractive species within IMTA sites depends primarily on its efficiency to capture and convert particles.  On the east coast, the potential of the sea cucumber (Cucumaria frondosa) as an organic extractive IMTA species is being determined by 1) quantifying the absorption efficiency and its relationship to the quality of material present; 2) quantifying the time necessary to convert food to faeces (gut passage time); and 3) determining whether it is capable of consuming aquaculture waste.  This project will use both controlled laboratory experiments and practical field trials in the natural environment and at east coast IMTA sites. Several species are being considered for use as organic-extractive organisms on the west coast. Ingestion rate, absorption efficiency, energy budget, and biophysical properties of excreted faeces will be determined for individuals fed diets consisting of sablefish aquaculture waste, compared to ‘natural’ diets, across a range of temperatures. Candidate species for the West coast include the green sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis), the basket cockle(Clinocardium nuttallii), the blue mussel(Mytilus edulis), the Gallo mussel(M. galloprovincialis), theCalifornia sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus), thePacific prawn (Pandalus platyceros), and Nereid polychaetes.

(Emily Nelson and Lindsay Orr deploy a cage of sea cucumbers at SABS - Credits: Emily Nelson)

Project Leader Name:
Bruce MacDonald, University of New Brunswick Saint John, Department of Biology

Project Leader e-mail Contact:

Team Members’ Names and Affiliations (researchers and students):
Stephen Cross (UVic)
Chris Pearce (DFO-PBS)
Shawn Robinson (DFO-SABS)
Gregor Reid (UNBSJ, DFO-SABS)
Helen Gurney-Smith (VIU-CSR)
Shannon Balfry (UBC-DFO CAER)
Emily Nelson (UNBSJ graduate student)
Lindsay Orr (UVic graduate student)

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