Environmental Systems Laboratory

Physical models of integrated waste recycling- marine polyculture systems

Aquaculture Volume 5, Issue 2, March 1975

Aquaculture Volume 5, Issue 2, March 1975


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Authors: John H. Ryther, Joel C. Goldman, Cameron E. Gifford, John E. Huguenin, Asa S. Wing, J.Philip Clarner,Lavergne D. Williams, Brian E. Lapointe 

A combined tertiary sewage treatment—marine aquaculture system has been developed, tested and evaluated using several different experimental sizes and configurations located both at WoodsHole, Mass. and Fort Pierce, Fla. Domestic wastewater effluent from secondary sewage treatment, mixed with sea water, is used as a source of nutrients for growing unicellular marine algae and the algae, in turn, are fed to oysters, clams, and other bivalve molluscs.

Solid wastes from the shellfish are fed upon by polychaete worms, amphipods, and other small invertebrates that serve as food for flounder, lobsters, and other commercially valuable secondary crops. Dissolved wastes excreted by the shellfish and other animals and any nutrients not initially removed by the univellular algae are removed by various species of commercial red seaweeds (Chondrus, Gracilaria, Agardhiella, Hypnea) as a final ‘polishing’ step. The final effluent from the system is virtually free of inorganic nitrogen and is incapable of supporting further growth of marine life or of contributing to eutrophication of the receiving waters.

A description of experiments with the above food chains and preliminary results with some alternative approaches are discussed, including a detailed account of the nitrogen mass balance through all of the components of one of the experimental systems.

Last updated: April 20, 2012