Major Department

Environmental Sciences


College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BS (Bachelor of Science)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2020

Honors Major Advisor

Mark K. Reagan

Thesis Mentor

Bradley D. Cramer


Macroalgae Aquaculture in Southwestern Florida as a Potential Tool for Nutrient Sequestration

Claire Carlson

In many coastal areas, excess nutrients from terrestrial sources have led to rapid growth in dead zones and degradation. Macroalgae is well-known for ecosystem services including nutrient sequestration and can be used to restore eutrophic waterways, while simultaneously creating economic opportunities through aquaculture practices. To determine the viability of macroalgae aquaculture in Sanibel, Florida, three testing sites along with two different treatments (enclosed vs. exposed) were established. All testing sites were equipped with two macroalgae aquaculture lines that featured clusters of macroalgae attached by fishing line, as well as macroalgae samples enclosed in mesh bags. The goal of this project was to see which method would lead to the greatest amount of algal growth, as well as what treatments were the most influential for aquaculture success in Tarpon Bay.

Coastal discharge sites are the optimal location for pollution accumulation. Efforts, such as macroalgae aquaculture, are being studied to determine aquaculture’s viability in sequestering harmful nutrients in these areas. However, the use of freshwater macroalgae has the potential to also clean water upstream before its final disposal in the ocean. The next step for this project is to begin testing the viability of freshwater macroalgae, and its impacts, on degraded freshwater ponds in Eastern Iowa


aquaculture, conservation, macroalgae, environmental science, marine

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Copyright © 2020 Claire Elizabeth Carlson