Citation Beltran-Gutierrez M, Ferse SCA, Kunzmann A, Stead SM, Msuya FE, Hoffmeister TS & Slater MJ (2016) Co-culture of sea cucumber Holothuria scabra and red seaweed Kappaphycus striatum. Aquaculture Research, 47 (5), pp. 1549-1559. https://doi.org/10.1111/are.12615
Abstract Commercially valuable sea cucumbers are potential co‐culture species in tropical lagoon environments, where they may be integrated into established aquaculture areas used for seaweed farming. In the current study, wild‐caught juvenile sea cucumbers, Holothuria scabra, and red seaweed Kappaphycus striatum were co‐cultured on Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania. Sea cucumbers (97 g ± 31 SD, n = 52) were cultured in mesh enclosures at initial cage stocking densities of 124 ± 21 SD and 218 ± 16 SD g m−2 under seaweed culture lines. Over 83 days, individual growth rate (1.6 g d−1 ± 0.2 SD) of sea cucumbers at low stocking density was significantly higher (χ2 = 8.292, d.f. = 1, P = 0.004) than at high‐stocking density (0.9 g d−1 ± 0.1 SD). Seaweed individual growth rates [6.27 (±0.3 SE) g d−1] were highest in co‐culture with sea cucumber at low density but did not differ significantly from high sea cucumber density or seaweed monoculture treatments (χ2 = 3.0885, d.f. = 2, P = 0.2135). Seaweed growth varied significantly (χ2 = 35.6, d.f. = 2, P < 0.0001) with sampling period, with the final sampling period resulting in the highest growth rate. Growth performance for seaweed and sea cucumbers (χ2 = 3.089, d.f. = 2, P = 0.21 and χ2 = 0.08, d.f. = 1, P = 0.777 respectively), did not differ significantly between monoculture and co‐culture treatments, yet growth in co‐culture was comparable with that reported for existing commercial monoculture. Results indicate H. scabra is a highly viable candidate species for lagoon co‐culture with seaweed. Co‐culture offers a more efficient use of limited coastal space over monoculture and is recommended as a potential coastal livelihood option for lagoon farmers in tropical regions.