Seaweed Strain Selection and Preservation to Optimize Harvest Yields for Abalone Culture

Start/End: February, 2008 to January, 2011

Biologists developed a small red algae garden in Monterey Harbor, which the Monterey Abalone Company is using to supplement the diet of its red abalone. Feeding experiments suggest that relatively small amounts of red algae boost abalone growth rates and improve shell color, as compared to abalone fed giant kelp, a brown alga, almost exclusively. In a blind-taste event, food critics also said they preferred the “super abs” almost four-to-one over abalone raised on a standard giant-kelp diet. The abalone company is interested in expanding its pilot algae garden to help reduce the farm’s reliance on wild-harvested kelps. Biologists are exploring the ability to dry and store, or silage, kelp for use in winter. California Sea Grant Extension Program plans to adapt findings from this project into a user-friendly manual for industry.