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NSERC Canadian Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture Network

Research Projects

Project Title:
Quantifying energy and nutrient dispersal and scales of influence on wild species from
open-water IMTA sites (D1P4)


Project Description:
The project goal is to measure abundance and distribution of wild species associated with IMTA cage sites and to learn how this is associated with nutrient availability in both the near and far field. Current investigations are to design an appropriate field methodology with respect to feasibility and statistical design. We have been able to quantify rates of bio-colonization (bio-fouling) using standardised collectors which are similar to designs used for monitoring invasive tunicates. Each collector consists of a series of PVC plates that serve as a substrate for native organisms such as bryozoans, hydrozoans, tunicates, and algae. These species colonise new substrates quickly and are suitable to measure early responses to nutrient availability. Collectors are deployed at both finfish and IMTA sites as well as at reference locations within the same geographic area but far from aquaculture activity. Upon retrieval, total accumulated biomass and surface area colonised can be measured and compared among sites relative to other environmental variables. The next phase of investigation will be to deploy a full array of collectors around several IMTA and finfish sites along with simultaneous measurement of environmental correlates such as temperature, salinity, current, chlorophyll, and oxygen.
 
(A collector plate retrieved at an IMTA site after 10 weeks. Colonised predominately with hydrozoans, it has accumulated 145 grams of biomass. -
Credits: Isabelle Gendron-Lemieux)

Project Leader Name:
Andrew Cooper, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St. Andrews Biological Station (SABS), Coastal Oceans and Ecosystem Research Section

Project Leader e-mail Contact:

Team Members’ Names and Affiliations (researchers and students):
Shawn Robinson (DFO-SABS)
Chris McKindsey (DFO-IML)
Fred Page (DFO-SABS)
Les Burridge (DFO-SABS)
Thierry Chopin (UNBSJ)

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