The absorption efficiency of the orange-footed sea cucumber Cucumaria frondosa was evaluated in order to examine its potential as organic-matter extractive species for IMTA systems. For this reason, laboratory and field trials were conducted. In the laboratory, the sea cucumbers were exposed to three different diets: (i) commercial algal diet of T-iso (Isochrysis galbana) or shellfish diet (mix of different microalgae), (ii) modified algae diet (a mixture of diatomaceous earth) and T-iso and (iii) mixture of particles found at local salmon farms. For the field trial, sea cucumbers were maintained in three different locations exposed to natural conditions.

IZ.069832: Cucumaria frondosa

Cucumaria frondosa (source: Peabody Museum of Natural History)

The absorption efficiency estimated in the field trial was 70%, while in the laboratory trials ranged between 68 to 85%. Sea cucumbers were able to consume aquaculture waste in both kinds of experiments. The results obtained in the present study demonstrated that C. frondosa presents the capacity to reduce the organic matter from aquaculture wastes and it has the potential to be used as an organic-matter extractive species in IMTA systems.

For more details visit Nelson et al. (2012). The absorption efficiency of the suspension-feeding sea cucumber, Cucumaria frondosa, and its potential as an extractive integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) species. Aquaculture 370–371, 19–25.