Fish aquaculture is a major contributor to blue growth worldwide, yet induces a series of pressures to the coastal marine environment. Living sponges are ideal candidates to mitigate organic pollution, owing to their innate capacity for active seawater filtering.
SPINAQUA (“Sponges in integrated aquaculture systems: Towards the delivery of better seawater quality and marine products of high added-value”) is a multidisciplinary research project investigating the potential of sponge cultivation in proximity to fish aquaculture for bioremediation and bioproduction purposes. To this end, it adopts an integrated approach comprising: (a) an extended survey of existing sponge habitats, (b) the setup of an experimental open-sea cultivation of selected sponges, as well as (c) the evaluation of their biotechnological potential in the laboratory. Through the adoption of state-of-the-art research methodologies, it aspires to provide a sound baseline to support the development of future bioremediation applications in an efficient, productive and environmentally sustainable manner. In the long run, it will help deliver a competitive advantage to Greek aquaculture enterprises and “cleaner” seas to the people.
The SPINAQUA team performed a series of controlled, large-scale laboratory experiments at the Aqualabs facilities of IMBBC-HCMR (Crete), in order to assess the cleanup capacity of four sponge species against microalgae. Specific microalgae were selected as a model for the biological pollution typically encountered in fish aquaculture settings. Sponge fragments…
The first in vitro bioremediation experiment was performed by the SPINAQUA team. During this procedure, two sponge species previously placed in IMBBC experimental aquaria, were supplied with three microalgae species. Their clearance capacity was measured by fluorescence microplate reader analysis.