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GS KAPPA Project

Diversity of Wild and Farmed Eucheumatoids in the Philippines at the Intra-And Inter-Specific Scale: Population Genetics of Kappaphycus Alvarezii and Molecular Taxonomy of Eucheumatoids

Funding Agency: UKRI-GCRF Global Seaweed STAR Research and Innovation Fund

Lead Researchers: Michael Y. Roleda, Dr. rer. nat., Richard V. Dumilag, PhD, Arturo O. Lluisma, PhD

Researchers: Zae-Zae Aguinaldo, April Mae Tabonda, Shienna Mae Gonzaga, Bea Crisostomo, Lourie Hinaloc

Collaborators: Richard Dumilag, Mindanao State University, Sorsogon State University

Claire Gachon, SAMS, UK

Juliet Brodie, The Natural History Museum, UK

Marie-Laure Guillemin, Universidad Austral de Chile

Assessing the Genetic Diversity of Eucheumatoids in the Philippines

Seaweed farming is an important industry especially in developing countries. It serves as an alternative source of income to marginalized fisherfolk families. It also provides work and leadership opportunities for women as they are involved in the production, post-harvest processing and marketing of seaweeds and seaweed products.

The two year project (2019-2021), “Diversity of wild and farmed eucheumatoids in the Philippines at the intra- and inter-specific scale: population genetics of Kappaphycus alvarezii and molecular taxonomy of eucheumatoids” led by Dr. Michael Roleda and Dr. Arturo O. Lluisma of the Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines Diliman, and Dr. Richard Dumilag of Mindanao State University assessed the genetic diversity of eucheumatoids, the main farmed seaweed species in the Philippines. By assessing their genetic diversity, specifically that of Kappaphycus alvarezii, the most valuable cultivated eucheumatoid in the Philippines, risks related to current seaweed propagation methods can be identified and seaweed genetic resources can be selected for biobanking.

The goal of the project was to assist the seaweed industry by developing sustainable, climate resilient and high-performing seaweed cultivars. The success of seaweed farming for over five decades in the Philippines is in part, due to the high diversity of cultivars maintained by the Filipino farmers. The project’s extensive survey and collection of wild and farmed K. alvarezii and other eucheumatoid samples in the country, including regions in Southern Philippines, will help further identify and select several wild strains with characteristics suitable for aquaculture.

In the long run, the improvement of seaweed yield from farms can increase the income of fishing communities and may decrease their dependence on fishing as their main livelihood. Increased seaweed yield will also allow seaweed farmers to use their produce for their own consumption, thereby increasing the nutrition and quality of the food they consume.

The project initiated collaborations and partnerships with regional offices of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, as well as academic and research institutions in the Philippines and the United Kingdom. It was funded by the UKRI-GCRF Global Seaweed STAR Research and Innovation Fund.

List of Publications

Dumilag RV, Crisostomo BA, Aguinaldo Z-ZA, Hinaloc LA, Liao LM, Roa-Quiaoit HA, et al. The diversity of eucheumatoid seaweed cultivars in the Philippines. Reviews in Fisheries Science & Aquaculture. 2023;31(1):47-65.

Hinaloc LA, Roleda MY. Phenotypic diversity, growth and sexual differentiation in the progeny of wild Kappaphycus alvarezii (gigartinales, Florideophyceae). Phycologia. 2021;60(6):547–57.

Narvarte BC, Genovia TG, Hinaloc LA, Roleda MY. Growth, nitrate uptake kinetics, and biofiltration potential of eucheumatoids with different thallus morphologies. Journal of Phycology. 2021;58(1):12–21.

Narvarte BC, Hinaloc LA, Genovia TG, Gonzaga SM, Tabonda-Nabor AM, Roleda MY. Physiological and biochemical characterization of new wild strains of Kappaphycus alvarezii (Gigartinales, Rhodophyta) cultivated under land-based hatchery conditions. Aquatic Botany. 2022;183:103567.


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