Project number: 2023-078
Project Status:
Current
Budget expenditure: $767,545.00
Principal Investigator: Mark D. Cyrus
Organisation: James Cook University (JCU)
Project start/end date: 29 Sep 2023 - 30 Mar 2025
Contact:
FRDC

Need

This project provides the resources for JCU to establish and operate the Tropical Research Hub for the National Hatchery Network in collaboration with ASSA researchers for 18 months (until 31 March 2025) which is the stipulated grant duration.

This FRDC project will provide the funding for JCU to engage key technical capability needed to support the Hub and establish the facilities for exclusive and continuous use for the project over the grant period, as well as provide the facilities and services of the ASSA employees (~2) working at this Hub.

The core objectives of the Research Hub will be to:
1. Establish facilities and equipment required for the development of the Tropical Seaweed Research Hub
2. Deliver a focused research program to close the life cycle, of Asparagopsis taxiformis, with the goal of being able to produce spores and seedlings.
3. Develop biological contamination management techniques for seed production.
4. Collect and maintain a clean broodstock culture collection.
5. Develop hatchery technology and equipment needs through experimentation.
6. Contribute to the development of a Hatchery Manual and knowledge sharing and dissemination.

The establishment of foundational seaweed hatchery capabilities at a strategic location in the Tropics, alongside the accelerated availability of seedstock and the provision of guidance in hatchery design and techniques marks a pivotal advancement in the journey of the seaweed industry in Australia. The Tropical Research Hub at JCU will help ensure sustainable industry growth by addressing the emerging R&D challenges surrounding hatchery techniques, strain selection, and seed production of Asparagopsis taxifomis. Moreover, it will foster a collaborative relationship between industry stakeholders, governments, and research institutions, promoting the development and progress of seaweed cultivation.

Objectives

1. Establish facilities and equipment required for the development of the Tropical Seaweed Research Hub as well as maintain the facilities, equipment, and consumables. There by providing research capacity for the development of robust and repeatable hatchery production techniques.
2. Deliver a focused research program to close the life cycle, of Asparagopsis taxiformis, with the goal of being able to produce spores and seedlings. Undertaking R&D to fast track the life-stage process through life cycle manipulation and understanding the eco-physiology of the species.
3. Develop biological contamination management techniques for seed production.
4. Collect and maintain a clean broodstock culture collection. For use in current and future projects.
5. Develop hatchery technology and equipment needs through experimentation.
6. Contribute to the development of a Hatchery Manual and knowledge sharing and dissemination. Collect and collate relevant information to be stored on a grant provided databases available to interested industry people and researchers. Provide milestone reporting of technical and financial progress to FRDC against plans, identifying achievements and challenges, and budgets. Contribute stakeholder engagement activities associated with the Tropical Research Hub. Contribute to training and knowledge sharing activities (extension).

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