Marine lower trophic food systems

Global population growth will lead to an increase in the global demand for food. Consequently, societies face the challenge to increase food production and implement efficiency steps. This has to be achieved in the context of a growing set of climate change-related risks, competition, scarcity of resources and the need to preserve the worlds ecosystems. This calls for a transition from traditional(linear), towards circular and climate smart food production systems.

Ecosystem based approaches, including marine resource production, require a boost, and optimisation of production to increase and sustain future marine productivity. The use of integrated approaches  to stimulate food production both on land and at sea calls for implementation. Salinizing regions may well be combined with marine production options which assist to increase resilence of services of marine eco systems. Marine resources can help to decrease the carbon foot print of several products, replacement strategies for products require new processing routines and orgware to sensibilise future markets. This calls for adequate integral approaches to validate the role of marine production systems in a circular and climate proof setting. This project develops steps achieving this.


The multidisciplinary research program: "Marine lower trophic food systems", contributes to the development of a food production system based on low trophic marine species. The transformation to application and the optimized use of low trophic marine resources offers opportunities for efficient use of nutrients, for meeting climate objectives, as well as for developing new products, applications and processes. However, there is still a lack of integrated knowledge to develop these food systems in a sustainable, circular manner. It is therefore necessary to support developments towards low trophic marine production and to provide a scientific basis for the proofs-of-concept and licenses-to-produce, taking into account the positive and negative effects of these food production systems and insight into the socio-ecological context.

This program contributes to the scientific basis for a transition to circular marine production system, including the support to improve the circularity and efficiency of terrestrial food production systems, including land-sea circularity. 

Strategic choices for climate ambitions, with the initial focus on carbon fixation are explored by analyzing, applying and developing the potential of “Blue Carbon” and eco-system services and translating this into the benefits of marine resources in smart climate production systems, both at sea and on the land. Therefore, various frameworks are being developed and integrated. This is supported by the development of suitable tools to assess the context of the ecosystem, by investing in understanding the processes of applications (in plants and animals) and in vitro and in vivo tools to quickly identify the bioactive characteristics of low trophic marine resources.