New research to support sustainable aquaculture and resilient coastal communities

Katherine Leitzell

California Sea Grant today announced funding for 19 new research projects that will take place over the next one to two years. A total of $900,000 in federal funding will go to the research projects led by researchers and graduate students throughout the state.

The projects, which focus on aquaculture and resilient coastal communities, complement the program’s current research portfolio, which has a strong focus on healthy marine and coastal ecosystems.

“There’s a lot of interest nationally in aquaculture and growing the nation’s ocean-based economy,” says California Sea Grant Director Shauna Oh. “The new projects funded through this call continue the program’s focus on sustainable aquaculture, including aquaculture to restore endangered populations, seaweed farming and outreach, as well as research that can inform development of an environmentally friendly aquaculture industry in California.”

At the same time, coastal resilience remains an important topic for California. The state faces growing impacts from climate change including sea-level rise and ocean acidification, as well as impacts on fisheries and aquaculture. The newly funded projects will provide policy-relevant research that can be applied by resource managers and policymakers working on climate adaptation, and ensuring a sustainable future for Californians.

Investing in the next generation of scientists

This year for the first time, California Sea Grant solicited project proposals directly from graduate students as well as from established faculty members. Sea Grant funding has long been a boon to young researchers—over 170 masters and PhD students have been supported by California Sea Grant research funding since 2005. By specifically funding student projects, the program is now investing more directly in these young scientists and expanding the pool of potential fundees.

“This strategy increases the number of young scientists who can benefit from Sea Grant funding in California,” says Oh. “We hope that this will expand the number and diversity of young researchers who can launch their careers in science with Sea Grant support.”

Below, find the full list and links to each of the newly funded projects. 

Graduate Research Fellows - Resilient Coastal Communities

Microbial analysis of the Oro Loma horizontal levee - advancing nature-based solutions for water quality improvement and shoreline resiliency
PI: Emily Gonthier, UC Berkeley
Project Number: R/RCCE-03F

Social science research to advance regional coordination and collaboration of sea level rise adaptation and planning on Humboldt Bay
PI: Kristen Orth-Gondinier, Humboldt State University
Project Number: R/RCCE-04F

Assessing coastal hazard mitigation potential of nature-based shorelines in California
PI: Rae Taylor-Burns, UC Santa Cruz
Project Number: ​R/RCCE-02F

Graduate Research Fellows - Aquaculture

Returning spring-run Chinook salmon to the upper Klamath River post-dam removal
PI: Anne Beulke, UC Santa Cruz
Project Number: R/AQ-157F

Are hatchery fish good surrogates for wild fish? A case study focused on winter-run Chinook salmon
PI: Emily Chen, UC Berkeley
Project Number: R/AQ-156F

Not so shellfish after all: How native oysters (Ostrea lurida) may aid eelgrass (Zostera marina) restoration by nitrogen filtration
PI: Mason Emery, CSU Fullerton
Project Number: R/AQ-159F

Water for coho salmon and communities: Mitigating climate change impacts on coastal streams
PI: Brian Kastl, UC Berkeley
Project Number: R/AQ-153F

Assessing brood stock fitness of Ceratonova shasta infected Chinook salmon’s (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) survivability during lab simulated Klamath River outmigration
PI: Leah Mellinger, UC Davis
Project Number: R/AQ-151F

Eat your greens: Evaluating microalgae supplemented feeds for sablefish nutrition and growth
PI: Katherine Neylan, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
Project Number: R/AQ-158F

Using transgenerational plasticity as an adaptation measure for ocean acidification impacts to abalone aquaculture
PI: Isabelle Neylan, UC Davis
Project Number: R/AQ-154F

Seaweed Aquaculture: Optimizing growth rate, photosynthetic efficiency and bromoform concentration in Asparagopsis taxiformis, a climate change fighting algae.
PI: Hannah Resetarits, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Project Number: R/AQ-155F

Does the thermal history of the commercially farmed pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) influence tolerance to temperature-related disease outbreaks?
PI: Priya Shukla, UC Davis

Core Research - Aquaculture

Development of techniques for the cultivation of monkeyface pricklebacks as a sustainable alternative to unagi
PI: Scott Hamilton, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
Project Number: R/AQ-147

Land-based echinoculture in California: Developing a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) and protocol for the enhancement of purple urchin roe
PI: Brian Hentschel, San Diego State University
Project Number: R/AQ-144

Laminaria farlowii, a new species for sustainable aquaculture in California: nursery methods, climate change resilience and preliminary market assessment with outreach through the California Seaweed Fair
PI: Janet Kubler, CSU Northridge
Project Number: R/AQ-148

Improving the siting and practices of offshore finfish farms in the Southern California Bight by incorporating historical and modern data from islands near existing fish pens
PI: Jeremy Long, San Diego State University
Project Number: R/AQ-150

Developing triploid mussel larvae for farming
PI: Sergey Nuzhdin, University of Southern California
Project Number: R/AQ-149

Converting under-utilized microalgal co-product into value-added ingredient for cost-viable, fish-free aquafeed for rainbow trout
PI: Pallab Sarker, UC Santa Cruz
Project Number: R/AQ-145

Vegetative propagation of Pyropia to advance the west coast nori industry
PI: Daniel Swezey, UC Davis
Project Number: R/AQ-146