MAE: Eco-based circularity

Sustainability and circularity are closely related subjects. In order to make processes more sustainable, the multiple use and recycling of products is vital. In marine systems, you can think of RAS (Recirculating Aquaculture Systems) or multitrophic mariculture systems. Marine Animal Ecology uses the biological filtering property of sponges to make fisheries more sustainable.

Sponges have important ecological roles, one of which is functioning as a biological filter through their extensive pumping capacities. A current project focusses on combining sponge culture with sea-based fish aquaculture and urban wastewater discharge. In this way, sponge culture can help reduce eutrophication and contamination of coastal waters. Additionally, the sponges themselves can for instance be harvested for various compounds, such as in the BiogenInk project.

Incubation chamber to measure functional responses of sponges in multi-trophic mariculture systems. Photo: M. Gokalp.
Incubation chamber to measure functional responses of sponges in multi-trophic mariculture systems. Photo: M. Gokalp.

Techniques used & Implications

To explore possibilities of eco-based circularity, Marine Animal Ecology uses ecophysiological experiments in the field and field monitoring. Sustainable harvesting of organisms and improving circularity will reduce our footprint on the earth.