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HPU's Oceanic Institute Installs New Bioreactors for Algae Culture

HPU Research Assistant Carmen Hoyt

Oceanic Institute (OI) of HPU was recently featured in an issue of Hatchery Magazine.  The article highlights OI’s acquisition of two photobioreactors and how this unique asset will contribute to OI’s groundbreaking shrimp breeding research and their ornamental fish breeding facility that is home to aquacultured yellow tangs. The photobioreactors were purchased from Industrial Plankton based in Canada.

The two algae bioreactors were installed at OI in April 2022 and are being used to grow two species of algae: Chaetoceros muelleri and Tisochrysis lutea. These algae are important as feed for larval shrimp, as background algae (or ‘green water’) for larval fish, and as feed for copepods, which are small shrimp-like animals used to feed larval fish.

In October 2021, the U.S. Department of Education awarded OI a 5-year $549,430 grant to help foster native Hawaiian students to pursue majors in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) disciplines using aquaculture as a transdisciplinary platform because it integrates biology, chemistry, engineering, and business in a holistic manner. Funds from the grant were used in part to purchase and install the algae bioreactors from Industrial Plankton.  

Algae bioreactors at Oceanic Institute of HPU

The bioreactors will help HPU students learn the fundamentals of algae culture, and will illustrate connections between nutrient availability, carbon dioxide concentration, and algae growth.  These connections have broader implications than just aquaculture and are especially relevant in studying global climate change and carbon cycling. Students will have firsthand experience in the lab growing algae and obtaining experimental data.

OI has a team of technical researchers and HPU interns who help support the facility with key personnel, Executive Director Shaun Moss, Ph.D., Director of the Finfish Department, Chatham Callan, Ph.D., and Director of the Shrimp Department Dustin Moss, Ph.D. 

To learn more about OI of HPU click here.

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