Training a New generation of Researchers in Offshore Seaweed Aquaculture to Produce High-value Chemicals - SeaChem

DC5 position is taken by Vanessa Nardini.

Project Title: Optimization of seaweed composition under current and future environmental scenarios (WP2)

Host Institution: University of Galway

Country: Ireland

Supervisor: Dagmar Stengel (PhD promoter, University of Galway), Zoe Popper

Objectives: To optimize biomass composition through selected growth parameters, such as light and nutrient regimes, supporting selection of suitable cultivation sites, depending on seaweed species and biomass requirement.

DC 5 will use an experimental, lab-based approach to identify optimum growth conditions for selected species to achieve desirable biomass composition for bulk products. DC5 will identify the critical parameters controlling the accumulation of the high-value compound of interest, accounting for future environmental scenarios in situ. DC5 will optimize species-specific high-value by-products for red, green and brown algae, with key high-value compounds (depending on species) including fatty acids, carotenoids, mycosporine-like amino acids and phycobiliproteins. DC5 will consider a biorefinery approach to enable waste and cost reduction, and value creation of the biomass produced. DC5 will focus on species with an existing market for bulk biomass (e.g. due to valuable polysaccharide composition), with water quality (e.g. nutrient levels), temperature and light climate being key components for both algal biomass and compound yield.

Expected Results: Definition of optimum growth conditions (location, methodologies, infrastructure requirements) taking into account predicted global change scenarios.

Enrolment in Doctoral degree(s): University of Galway, Botany and Plant Science

Planned secondments:

Host: PurAl, Supervisor: Esben Christiansen, Timing: M10-12, Length: 3 months, Purpose: training on various seaweed cultivation techniques and how to optimise the design parameters and operational conditions to enhance biomass yields in a cost-effective way.

Host: INAGRO, Supervisor: Jan Leenknegt, Timing: M18-20, Length: 3 months, Purpose: training on the cutting-edge fermentation technologies for side streams obtained after the cascaded seaweed valorization.

Candidate requirements: 

  • You hold a master’s degree in biology, bioscience engineering, plant sciences or a related field and you thrive in a multidisciplinary research environment.
  • You have a solid knowledge of growth conditions in a marine environment.
  • You are ambitious, well organized and have excellent communication skills.
  • You speak and write fluent English and have the ability to work effectively and collaboratively.
  • You are an enthusiastic and motivated person, ready to participate in personal training, international travel and public awareness activities.
  • You have demonstrated your commitment to high quality research.


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