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Fino 3 Pilot Update – June 24

 Ulva sp. Sampling Campaign

The semi-enclosed nature of the Baltic Sea creates a unique environment, characterized by a salinity gradient that significantly influences species composition. Salinity levels range from full haline conditions in the western Baltic to freshwater conditions in the Gulf of Finland. This variation results in the western parts being too saline for freshwater organisms, while the eastern parts are not salty enough for marine organisms. Consequently, aquaculture production is limited, as few species can tolerate both extremes.

The green macroalgae Ulva, commonly known as “Sea lettuce,” is one of the few species that thrive in these conditions. The genus Ulva is present in all oceans and throughout the Baltic Sea. Currently, only ULTFARMS partners Nordic Sea Farm cultivate Ulva strains commercially in the low saline environment of the Baltic Sea.

Within the ULTFARMS project, the aim is to increase the number of cultivatable Ulva strains by collecting naturally occurring strains from different populations and environments within the Baltic Sea. These strains have naturally adapted to their respective environments. The sampling campaign included collecting samples from four coastlines: Rügen, the monopile structures of the FINO2 research station (with assistance from partner DNV), and the Kiel Bay.

The collected strains will be brought to the Tjärnö Research Station in Sweden, managed by the University of Gothenburg. Here, the samples will be tested for their usability in cultivation and potential future use in the aquaculture system. This initiative aims to enhance aquaculture production by identifying and cultivating strains of Ulva that can thrive in the diverse salinity conditions of the Baltic Sea.

Figure 1: Uva strain collection, from four different locatio, nearest to our FINO2 Offshore research platform, includinga dive along the monopile of FINO2. Samples have been gathered an brought to the inclubator full of strains. A shipment heading towards the Tjärnö research station, University of Gothenburg, for further processing and scaling up has been sent out.

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