Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 547–560 | Cite as

Porphyra umbilicalis in applied and basic research: reproductive phenology, development, seed stock culture, and a field trial for aquaculture

  • Charlotte J. RoyerEmail author
  • Sarah Redmond
  • Chu Shing Lai
  • Susan H. Brawley


Porphyra umbilicalis is being developed in the North Atlantic for aquaculture; however, information on nursery stock establishment and maintenance is needed, including when to collect spores (phenology), how to maintain healthy seed stock over multiple generations, and whether reproductively mature blades can be stored at low temperature (− 20 °C) for immediate use “on demand” to seed lines and nets. We evaluated whether spore damage would occur by documenting early developmental patterns of germlings from cold-stored parent blades to control blades. Phenological studies over 300 km of Maine, USA, shore indicated that successful NS production by P. umbilicalis peaks in winter, is greatly reduced in summer, and may be affected by amphipod (Apohyale prevostii) grazers in fall and spring. The pattern of early cell division in germinating neutral spores was affected by donor parent (blade) for a few minor patterns of cell division, but not by cold storage (− 20 °C) of reproductive blades for 6 weeks. Linear development was about four times more common in neutral spore germlings than bilateral development, but variations in pattern of cell division were observed, and these may help to explain the variable morphology of the adult blade. The minimal time required to grow neutral spores to reproductively mature blades in laboratory culture was 62 days; vigorous water motion provided by aeration and immobilization of blades by holdfast clips (versus tumbling) were essential to spore production. Seeded lines produced blades of harvestable size with a substantial understory in a preliminary field trial.


Algal culture Macroalgal aquaculture Linear germlings Neutral spores Phenology Porphyra umbilicalis 



We gratefully acknowledge Maine Sea Grant (NOAA Contract NA14OAR4170072) and the NSF (RCN 0741907) for the support of this work. We especially appreciate strong contributions by Charlotte C. T. Quigley (UMaine) to the phenology collections; Rob Cushman for the multiple contributions to the field work, including on the pilot farm; Shepard Erhart (Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, LLC) for the assistance in the field and vision for the development of macroalgal aquaculture; and Luz Kogson (UMaine) for the assistance at CCAR. Other valuable assistance was provided by UMaine undergraduates Margaret Aydlett, Alexandra Pergerson, Eleanor McCarthy, Katlyn Buda, Chad Flickstrom, and Kyle Capistrant-Fossa. Dr. Les Watling (University of Hawaii) helped us identify the amphipods. We are grateful to two anonymous reviewers whose comments improved the manuscript. A portion of this research contributed to Royer’s M.S. thesis at the University of Maine (Royer 2017).


This work was supported by Maine Sea Grant (National Ocean and Atmospheric Agency [NOAA] Contract NA14OAR4170072) (SHB, PI) and a National Science Foundation Research Collaboration Network 0741907 (SHB, PI).

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10811_2018_1538_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3.3 mb)
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlotte J. Royer
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sarah Redmond
    • 1
    • 3
  • Chu Shing Lai
    • 4
  • Susan H. Brawley
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Marine SciencesUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  2. 2.Davis Heart and Lung Research InstituteOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Springtide Seaweed LLCSullivanUSA
  4. 4.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsUniversity of MaineOronoUSA

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