Wales’ Marine Energy Test Area (META), in Pembrokeshire recently played host to an intriguing experiment looking at how seaweed grows on different types of material.

An experiment deployed at META’s Dale Roads site trialled four different natural and manmade rope materials to investigate how they attract colonisation – the process in biology by which a species spreads to new areas. The test also looked at how locally present seaweed species and other species grew on the different materials.

The experiment was conducted by the Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE), in collaboration with The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company.

The 12-month project tested four different rope materials with three replicates of each, to ensure confidence in the findings; 12 systems in total were deployed.

The systems were relatively simple using a seabed anchor, single riser (made of 1 of the 4 rope types) and a yellow marker buoy. 

The next steps for the researchers will be analysing and reporting on the data collected during the experiment.

Meanwhile at META we are actively engaging with those developing novel seaweed growing systems as well as the regulator, to see if there is an opportunity to test these systems at META – if this is of interest to you please get in touch.