Augyte Simona

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  • Article
    Population genetics of sugar kelp throughout the Northeastern United States genome-wide markers
    (Frontiers Media, 2020-08-21) Mao, Xiaowei ; Augyte, Simona ; Huang, Mao ; Hare, Matthew P. ; Bailey, David ; Umanzor, Schery ; Marty-Rivera, Michael ; Robbins, Kelly R. ; Yarish, Charles ; Lindell, Scott ; Jannink, Jean-Luc
    An assessment of genetic diversity of marine populations is critical not only for the understanding and preserving natural biodiversity but also for its commercial potential. As commercial demand rises for marine resources, it is critical to generate baseline information for monitoring wild populations. Furthermore, anthropogenic stressors on the coastal environment, such as warming sea temperatures and overharvesting of wild populations, are leading to the destruction of keystone marine species such as kelps. In this study, we conducted a fine-scale genetic analysis using genome-wide high-density markers on Northwest Atlantic sugar kelp. The population structure for a total of 149 samples from the Gulf of Maine (GOM) and Southern New England (SNE) was investigated using AMOVA, FST, admixture, and PCoA. Genome-wide association analyses were conducted for six morphological traits, and the extended Lewontin and Krakauer (FLK) test was used to detect selection signatures. Our results indicate that the GOM region is more heterogeneous than SNE. These two regions have large genetic difference (between-location FST ranged from 0.21 to 0.32) and were separated by Cape Cod, which is known to be the biogeographic barrier for other taxa. We detected one significant SNP (P = 2.03 × 10–7) associated with stipe length, and 248 SNPs with higher-than-neutral differentiation. The findings of this study provide baseline knowledge on sugar kelp population genetics for future monitoring, managing and potentially restoring wild populations, as well as assisting in selective breeding to improve desirable traits for future commercialization opportunities.
  • Article
    Comparative analysis of morphometric traits of farmed sugar kelp and skinny kelp, Saccharina spp., strains from the Northwest Atlantic
    (Wiley, 2021-03-23) Umanzor, Schery ; Li, Yaoguang ; Bailey, David ; Augyte, Simona ; Huang, Mao ; Marty-Rivera, Michael ; Jannink, Jean-Luc ; Yarish, Charles ; Lindell, Scott
    Our team has initiated a selective breeding program for regional strains of sugar kelp, Saccharina latissima, to improve the competitiveness of kelp farming in the United States. Within our breeding program, we also include an endemic putative species, Saccharina angustissima, locally referred to as skinny kelp. We crossed uniclonal gametophyte cultures derived from 37 wild‐collected blades representing five sugar kelp strains and one skinny kelp strain to produce 104 unique crosses. Each cross was outplanted on a near‐shore research farm located in the Gulf of Maine (GOM). After the first farming season, our results indicated that sugar kelp and skinny kelp were interfertile, and produced mature and reproductively viable sporophytes. Morphological traits of individual blades varied depending on the parental contribution (sugar vs. skinny), with significant differences found in progeny blade length, width, thickness, and in stipe length and diameter. Despite these differences, wet weight and blade density per plot showed no statistical differences regardless of the cross. Given their published genetic similarity and their interfertility shown here, S. angustissima and S. latissima may not be different species, and may each contribute genetic diversity to breeding programs aimed at meeting ocean farming and market needs.
  • Article
    Estimating production cost for large-scale seaweed farms
    (Taylor and Francis, 2022-11-11) Kite-Powell, Hauke L. ; Ask, Erick ; Augyte, Simona ; Bailey, David ; Decker, Julie ; Goudey, Clifford A. ; Grebe, Gretchen ; Li, Yaoguang ; Lindell, Scott ; Manganelli, Domenic ; Marty-Rivera, Michael ; Ng, Crystal ; Roberson, Loretta ; Stekoll, Michael ; Umanzor, Schery ; Yarish, Charles
    Seaweed farming has the potential to produce feedstocks for many applications, including food, feeds, fertilizers, biostimulants, and biofuels. Seaweeds have advantages over land-based biomass in that they require no freshwater inputs and no allocation of arable land. To date, seaweed farming has not been practiced at scales relevant to meaningful biofuel production. Here we describe a techno-economic model of large-scale seaweed farms and its application to the cultivation of the cool temperate species Saccharina latissima (sugar kelp) and the tropical seaweed Eucheumatopsis isiformis. At farm scales of 1000 ha or more, our model suggests that farm gate production costs in waters up to 200 km from the onshore support base are likely to range between $200 and $300 per dry tonne. The model also suggests that production costs below $100 per dry tonne may be achievable in some settings, which would make these seaweeds economically competitive with land-based biofuel feedstocks. While encouraging, these model results and some assumptions on which they are based require further field validation.