Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures

Aquaculture Protocol Improvement Through Modelling

Event Name/Location

World Aquaculture, San Antonio, TX, February 26-March 2, 2007

Presentation Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding



Aquaculture research tends to focus on the biological aspects of the culture and production perspective is often overlooked when a culture protocol is developed.
Some of the major goals to help aquaculture industry to succeed are the optimization of protocols (particularly mass-scale culture) and production prediction.
The link between research and production can be established by modelling using previously published data (from studies with a good experimental design) in a production perspective. As opposed to statistical analysis which will only reveal the relationships between the data, a model can offer a deeper understanding and simplified picture of reality and can thereby yield a much better management plan.
After the biological aspects of the culture to be addressed it is important to pass that information to producers. However, this information needs to be adjusted in a production perspective. As an example, some of the questions for which a producer would like to have answers in larval culture are: What are the most productive abiotic and biotic conditions for larval rearing? How many newly metamorphosed juveniles (NMJ) one will obtain to initiate grow-out. What is the size of the NMJ one will obtain? Models, as opposed to statistical analysis, allow not only the comparison of the survival to juvenile of the larvae produced, but also provide information on the metamorphosis synchronism, and day the metamorphosis sets off. Producers aim to produce large NMJ since a larger animal might shorten the time needed to achieve commercial size. Another important aspect very often disregarded is NMJ size range; ideally all individuals would have the same size so that competition and cannibalism could be minimized. The prediction of these and other aspects are fundamental for a good management of an aquaculture facility.
To establish a mass-scale culture protocol suitable to sustain a farm we should start by optimizing culture protocols in a production perspective using data from small-scale culture research. Afterwards, that protocol should be adjusted to mass-scale culture and optimized combining bio-productive and economic predictors through modelling.
Productivity improvement of ornamental shrimp Lysmata seticaudata and crab Mithraculus forceps larval and juvenile culture protocols were achieved by modelling survival to postlarva and newly metamorphosed juvenile size when reared in different conditions of temperature, diet, first feeding (early starvation), stocking density and prey density. The models developed, besides being a very useful tool for production prediction, contributed to the improvement of profitability by suggesting more productive rearing conditions.
Mithraculus forceps female has the ability of storing male sperm and use it to fertilize consecutive spawns. The viability of using those spawns for aquaculture purposes was also analysed using models.