CTAQUA Aquaculture Technological Centre
Erik Malta (1969, The Netherlands) studied biology at Leiden University in the Netherlands, specializing in plant ecology and marine ecology. He obtained his PhD degree from the Radboud University (The Netherlands) in Natural Sciences. His thesis centered on the development of macroalgal mats in a eutrophic lagoon and their dynamics and control mechanisms. After a short period working for two NGOs on marine nature protection and conservation themes, he moved to Spain on a EU Marie Curie post-doctoral fellowship to start working at the University of Cádiz on ecophysiological questions in seaweeds, in particular the green seaweed Ulva. He completed his second postdoc fellowship in Portugal (Faro), working on both autoecological and ecosystem aspects of seaweed blooms, including potential applications to the Water Framework Directive. In 2009 he moved back to Spain, and started working at the Andalusian Institute for Agriculture & Fisheries (IFAPA) on more applied research. His research themes included controlled indoor cultivation of filamentous seaweeds for optimization of valuable compounds and outdoor cultivation in Integrated Multitrophic Aquaculture (IMTA). He supervised a PhD-student who studied the contents and composition of Ulva extracts, specifically ulvan and its application as functional feed in aquaculture. During his stay at IFAPA he also worked shortly as honorary research fellow with the group of Professor Rocky de Nys at the James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. Currently, at the CTAQUA Aquaculture Technological Centre, he is involved in three EU projects and one national project, mainly aiming for indoor and outdoor (land-based IMTA) cultivation of Ulva and other seaweed species and interaction with its microbiome, optimization of specific compounds and evaluation of the potential of macroalgal polysaccharide extracts as aquaculture feed supplements. He has published over 25 scientific peer-reviewed papers as well as general interest papers and book chapters and has made over 30 contributions (posters and oral) to national and international congresses and symposia.