Resource (Light and Nitrogen) and Density-Dependence of Seaweed Growth

Xi Xiao, Susana Agusti, Fang Lin, Caicai Xu, Yan Yu, Yaoru Pan, Ke Li, Jiaping Wu, Carlos M. Duarte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Seaweed aquaculture is a rapidly growing component of marine food production, but the capacity to control seaweed growth lacks behind that of land agriculture. Seaweed growth requires nutrients, acquired from dissolved pools through their fronds, and light, and, as such may also be density-dependent, but general relationships between seaweed growth, nutrient concentration and incident irradiance are not yet available. We used a dataset of 1729 experimental assessments of seaweed specific growth rates and density under various nutrient and irradiance levels retrieved from the published literature to examine the relationship between seaweed growth, density, irradiance, and nutrient concentration. This analysis confirmed strong density-dependence of seaweed specific growth rates, and further confirmed that nutrient and irradiance limitation strongly impose density-dependent seaweed growth. These findings demonstrate that nutrient and irradiance limitation modulate density-dependent seaweed growth, and can help maximize growth rates in seaweed aquaculture, a rapidly growing component of global aquaculture production, by manipulating stocking density where nutrients are scarce and/or underwater light penetration poor.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
StatePublished - Oct 16 2019

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: Funding. This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 21677122 and 21876148 to XX), the China’s International Science and Technology Cooperation Program (Grant 2015DFA01410 to JW and CD) from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) through the baseline fund to CD and SA, the open fund of the Laboratory of Marine Ecosystem and Biogeochemistry, Second Institute of Oceanography, SOA (LMEB201709 to XX), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (to XX).


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