Research Needs

Seedling Biology

  • Cultivation technology to enable production of P. palmata seedlings on substrate including a program for controlled sorus induction, spore release, seeding, seedlings incubation, contamination control and cryopreservation.
  • Better understanding of the seasonal and geographic impact for fertility in A. esculenta at different sites along the Norwegian coast, better methods for sorus disinfection and for contamination control of gametophyte cultures.

Sea Cultivation

  • Pilot investigations of potential farm locations to determine site suitability and generate knowledge on suitable cultivation depths and the best deployment and harvesting windows.
  • Registration of environmental data (salinity, currents, nutrients) during field cultivation experiments to support growth and biochemical results.
  • Field cultivation experiments further north than 69 °N to look at the impact of high latitude on chemical content, growth and biofouling.
  • Laboratory experiments testing effects of environmental factors and genes on seaweed defence and/or resistance to biofouling.
  • Large scale sea cultivation of P. palmata for evaluation of environmental- and seasonal effects on growth, fouling and composition.


  • Baseline studies of population genetics of all macroalgae under consideration for cultivation.
  • Studies of intrinsic and extrinsic factors influencing gene spreading in macroalgae.
  • Population genetic studies linking functional traits to genotypes.
  • In situ studies of “crop-to-wild” spread of genes from sea farms to local populations.

Marine Modelling

  • Development of more detailed models for the content of interesting/valuable compounds (e.g. proteins, polyphenols, pigments, carbohydrates) in kelps and how these depend on and arise as interactions between external conditions, metabolism, and growth.
  • Development of more detailed models for the content and accumulation of potentially unwanted components (e.g. iodine, heavy metals, environmental toxins) in kelps. 
  • Linking model parameters to genetics studies.
  • More detailed modelling of fouling on kelps (also including other organisms such as hydroids). In particular, the spatiotemporal patterns of first appearance of fouling and dispersal of the larval stages of the fouling organisms. 

Seedling, Deployment and Harvest Technology

  • Development of optimal techniques, materials and equipment for automation of seeding operations.
  • Further development of instrumentation methods for quantification of spore density and gametophyte biomass using machine learning.
  • Detection of healthy kelp, unwanted growth and other categories using machine learning.
  • SPOKe-specific: Principles of control and selection of mechanisms and actuation for the gantry robot and its movement around the submerged modules. Solutions for relative positioning measurements between the robot and the modules as it moves and deploys from the vessel.
  • Optimal substrate geometry. This has a great impact on lab and farm design, and also deployment and harvesting equipment. In the proposed concept SPOKe, vector seeding is the basis, but the concept is not limited to 1D substrates. In order to select a geometry, the whole production line must be considered.
  • Development and automation on harvesting equipment for various substrate geometry and farm designs.

Sea Farms

  • Experiments yielding data for a larger variety in growth density, specimen growth and morphology.
  • Experiments with growth ropes inclined to the loads (current and waves).
  • Experiments to determine forces on sugar kelp ropes when exposed to waves.
  • Experiments measuring the effect on the surrounding water flow from the kelp.