Each year, thousands of tons of seaweed is harvested along the coast of Okinawa, Japan. However, scientists are warning that anthropogenic climate change will lower the annual yield and create a demand for new farming methods.
Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) have sequenced the genome a popular brown seaweed, mozuku (Cladosiphon okamuranus). As pollution and rising temperatures changes the ocean, this data may provide critical information for local seaweed farmers.
“My future plan is to establish new methods for cultivation of this species,” said Dr. Nishitsuji. “Using those markers, we can do cross-breeding. This is a popular method for making new varieties of land plants, especially wheat and potatoes, but in the case of seaweed, no one has succeeded in cross-breeding.”
As the ocean changes, seaweed farmers will need these genetic tools to enhance breeding programs.
The study can be viewed here at Scientific Reports