Assessing the potential for selection and improvement of red seaweed affected by increasing water temperatures in Tanzania
About the project
UK-registered Partner: University of Stirling – Alejandro Gutierrez
Africa-registered Partner: The Zanzibar Seaweed Cluster Initiative – Flower Msuya
Global demand of seaweed for food, bioactive compounds and carbon capture is increasing rapidly. Development of efficient cultivation and production methods, has therefore, become essential, considering environmental changes that global warming is generating.
In Tanzania, the successful production of numerous seaweed species, particularly red seaweed such as Euchema and Kappaphycus has helped the country to become the biggest African producer of aquatic plants, massively driven by local women who are taking part in this lucrative venture. Indeed, red seaweed is a sustainable source of protein, a macro-nutrient in which Tanzanian nationals are deficient. However, seaweed farming in Tanzania has suffered decline in production, attributed to climate-change induced stress, due to increased water temperatures (>38C), leading to epiphytes and ice-ice disease.
This project aims to use genomic and molecular tools to help tackle these issues and potentially improve seaweed production by facilitating selection of important traits, e.g., temperature tolerance and nutritional value. Additionally, the assessment of the nutritional content of the farmed seaweed species will provide crucial information for the future of food production. This opens the possibility for Tanzania of securing the future of their crops and add additional value to their products.