Inter-Research > AEI > v12 > p457-470  
AEI
Aquaculture Environment Interactions

via Mailchimp

AEI 12:457-470 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00375

Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture systems: energy transfers and food web organization in coastal earthen ponds

Sofia Gamito1,2,*, Hugo Quental-Ferreira3, Aida Parejo3, Joël Aubin4, Villy Christensen5, Maria Emília Cunha3

1CCMAR, Centre of Marine Sciences, Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
2FCT, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
3EPPO, Estação Piloto de Piscicultura de Olhão, Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera, Quinta de Marim, 8700-194 Olhão, Portugal
4INRA UMR SAS, 35042 Rennes Cedex, France
5Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Three Ecopath models were built to reproduce 3 experimental treatments carried out in earthen ponds located in Olhão, southern Portugal, to understand the energy transferred and the ecosystem state in integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA). These earthen ponds behave as simplified ecosystems or mesocosms, with well-defined borders, where the relationships between trophic groups can be described through ecosystem modeling. Different combinations of species were produced in these ponds, corresponding to the 3 treatments: (1) fish, oysters and macroalgae (FOM); (2) fish and oysters (FO); and (3) fish and macroalgae (FM). The managed species were meagre Argyrosomus regius, white seabream Diplodus sargus, flathead grey mullet Mugil cephalus, Japanese oyster Crassostrea gigas and sea lettuce Ulva spp. The results showed that the total amount of energy throughput was 15 to 17 times higher when compared with an equivalent naturalized system. The high biomass and low recycling indicated an immature system with low resilience and low stability that demands high rates of water renewal and aeration to maintain good water-quality levels for finfish production. The addition of oysters and macroalgae in the FOM treatment appeared to improve the water quality, since oysters controlled the excess of phytoplankton produced in the ponds by ingesting a fair amount of the phytoplankton, while the macroalgae helped in the absorption of excess nutrients and created a habitat for periphyton and associated macroinvertebrates. Some ecosystem attributes of the FOM ponds approached the values of the naturalized model, suggesting a possible path towards more sustainable aquaculture.


KEY WORDS: Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture systems · IMTA · Earthen pond ecosystems · Ecosystem energy transfer · Ecopath models · Sustainable aquaculture


Full text in pdf format
Supplementary material 
Cite this article as: Gamito S, Quental-Ferreira H, Parejo A, Aubin J, Christensen V, Cunha ME (2020) Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture systems: energy transfers and food web organization in coastal earthen ponds. Aquacult Environ Interact 12:457-470. https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00375

Export citation
Mail this link - Contents Mailing Lists - RSS
Facebook - - linkedIn