Common mussels. Photo: Per Dolmer

Shellfish and seaweed

DTU Aqua’s research into shellfish and seaweed focuses on the production of healthy food in a sustainable way and the ecosystem services provided by shellfish and seaweed production

DTU Aqua perform research into shellfish and seaweed production with special focus on promoting sustainable production of shellfish and seaweed in order to provide healthy food products and ecosystem services. The Danish coastal waters are generally very eutrophic, which gives specific opportunities and challenges for the production of shellfish and seaweed. Thus, production under eutrophic conditions is of central importance in our research. 

Main themes within the shellfish and seaweed research

The research into shellfish and seaweed has four main themes:

  • Shellfish and seaweed production
    We explore how the natural resources in coastal waters can be sustainably exploited through fishing or aquaculture production of seaweed and mussels. This includes a large spectrum of activities from shellfish bottom culture to hatchery production.

  • Marine habitats and production effects on ecosystem
    We have a particular focus on the environmental impacts associated with the exploitation of the marine resources such as ecosystem services provided by farming, or shellfish fishing effects to the bottom in highly eutrophic areas. Based on the mapping of marine habitats such as eelgrass and macroalgae we seek conceptual understanding of coastal marine habitats and their functions in eutrophic areas.

  • Models for mapping shellfish stocks
    Our research is also focusing on the development of new types of stock assessment models and monitoring tools including the use of remote sensing including underwater technology and drones. The goal is to secure a better basis for the management of the shellfish fishery.

  • New marine protein sources
    Special focus on the development of new marine protein sources such as starfish, seaweed and mitigation mussels (mussels produced to remove nutrients from the eutrophied water) to use as feed.  

Why do we do research into shellfish and seaweed?

The overall goal of DTU Aqua's research in shellfish and seaweed production is to help to ensure the sustainable exploitation of shellfish resources in the Danish waters. There is a need for research that will help develop the sector while ensuring that production meets both national and international environmental requirements.

What is the research used for?

DTU Aqua's research in seafood production is used for ecosystem-based advice to the authorities involved in the management of fisheries and aquaculture. Our knowledge and research on the functioning of coastal ecosystems and habitats also contributes to environmental management.

In addition, our knowledge and expertise in this area is available for commercial use and converted to a large extent into practice by the profession. 

How do we carry out our research?

DTU Aqua conducts its research into shellfish and seaweed in many ways and at different scales—from large scale with the mapping and modelling of eelgrass habitat in e.g. the Limfjorden to microscale with microalgae or oyster hatchery processes in the laboratory.

We focus on system-level and a large part of our research is done on real-scale experiments in the field, but controlled experiments are also conducted in our laboratory facilities especially for research in shellfish farming.

Most of DTU Aqua’s shellfish and seaweed research is carried out at Danish Shellfish Centre.


Danish Shellfish Centre (DSC)

DTU Aqua's research on shellfish and seaweed is carried out at the Danish Shellfish Centre.

Go to DSC's research website (in Danish)


The shellfish and seaweed research has access to facilities on land at Danish Shellfish Centre and in the Limfjorden.

Learn more about the research facilities


Jens Kjerulf Petersen
Ph.+45 61 22 24 29