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Seasonal ammonium uptake kinetics of four brown macroalgae: implications for use in integrated multi-trophic aquaculture


Smart, JN and Schmid, M and Paine, ER and Britton, D and Revill, A and Hurd, CL, Seasonal ammonium uptake kinetics of four brown macroalgae: implications for use in integrated multi-trophic aquaculture, Journal of Applied Phycology, 34 pp. 1693-1708. ISSN 0921-8971 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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2022. The Authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10811-022-02743-w


The combined culture of fed species (bivalves, fish) and macroalgae, known as integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA), has been suggested as a method of mitigating localised nitrogen (N) increase from aquaculture, whilst simultaneously culturing macroalgae for commercial applications. The development of IMTA requires an understanding of the N ecophysiology of candidate macroalga species. We examined seasonal variations in ammonium (NH4+) uptake kinetics, carbon to nitrogen (C:N) ratio, pigment content and soluble tissue N of four macroalgae of the phylum Ochrophyta, Ecklonia radiata, Macrocystis pyrifera, Lessonia corrugata, and Phyllospora comosa, from Tasmania, Australia. This study aimed to determine, (1) if the N physiology of the four macroalgal species was suitable for IMTA applications and (2) whether the species had seasonal variations in N ecophysiology which would influence their suitability for IMTA. Macrocystis pyrifera, L. corrugata, and E. radiata exhibited saturable NH4+ uptake kinetics, with a maximum uptake rate (Vmax) during spring, summer and autumn of 200, 45.8 and 45 μmol gDW-1 h-1 and half-saturation constants (Ks) of 361.3, 104.2 and 121 μM, respectively. Phyllospora comosa exhibited biphasic uptake patterns for three out of four months sampled. There were no noticeable seasonal patterns in pigment content or soluble tissue N for any species. C:N ratios increased from spring (October) to autumn (March) in both E. radiata (28.34 47.83) and P. comosa (24.99 51.62), indicating progressive N limitation though summer and into autumn. Results suggest that M. pyrifera and P. comosa are most suitable for IMTA due to their high NH4+ uptake potential.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:IMTA, ammonium uptake, aquaculture, kelp, seaweed, nitrogen physiology, Ochrophyta
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Plant biology
Research Field:Phycology (incl. marine grasses)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems
UTAS Author:Smart, JN (Miss Joanna Smart)
UTAS Author:Schmid, M (Dr Matthias Schmid)
UTAS Author:Paine, ER (Mrs Ellie Paine)
UTAS Author:Britton, D (Dr Damon Britton)
UTAS Author:Hurd, CL (Professor Catriona Hurd)
ID Code:150163
Year Published:2022
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2022-05-30
Last Modified:2022-12-01
Downloads:4 View Download Statistics

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