Gunung Kidul –Master of Management (MM) Program of Universitas Gadjah Mada, Faculty of Biology and Institute for Research and Community Service (LPPM) initiate a pilot pool cultivation of Ulva algae seaweed species in Kukup Beach, Kemadang Village in Gunung Kidul regency, Yogyakarta, on Thursday (28/7). The activity is intended to conserve biodiversity of Ulva algae that has been processed into chips by the surrounding community. This chips is called Ulva chips.
"Faculty of Biology began by inviting people to make Ulva chips, but the conservation they were doing was not up to what we want. So, we are responsible for maintaining the conservation, too," Dean of Faculty of Biology, Dr. Retno Peni Sancayaningsih, M.Sc., said on the sidelines of the event.
Although having invited people to take advantage of the Ulva algae, minor problems still remain. People who are not aware usually harvest the algae by pulling it out. This causes algae unable to grow easily anymore at the coral beach. In fact, the algae grow in the early period of rainy season and can only be harvested at the end of the rainy season.
Peni added that cultivation pool of Ulva algae is expected to conserve biodiversity in coastal areas of Gunung Kidul. "The potential of this plant, if managed wisely, will provide good benefits to the community," she said.
In the future, biodiversity conservation activities in coastal areas will be done by cooperating with Charles Darwin University, Australia, and University of Kyong San, Korea, in the development of marine biology.
Deputy Director for Academic Affairs and Research of MM UGM, Dr. Wakhid Slamet Ciptono, M.B.A., said that the pilot cultivation pool of Ulva algae is the application of mainstreaming ethics learning concept in every educational activity and teaching to students. The concept of learning that emphasizes the value of academic ethics morality, social ethics and environmental ethics is taught in each subject. "It is not only in economics, but also the environment and social culture," he said.
Wakhid also said that he welcomed the cooperation that exists among MM, Faculty of Biology and LPPM in implementing sustainable development programs.
Kemadang Village Head, Sutono, also welcomed the presence of the cultivation pool placed in the coast of Kukup Beach. According to Sutono, the pool can be a place of learning for residents to undertake similar efforts. "Ulva Chips was found by UGM students as quality food. Also, many consumers like it. Now, the stock for one month has been sold out. Not only here (in Kukup Beach), even in the south coast of Parangtritis, there is no stock anymore," he said.
Sutono also advised the residents not to carelessly exploit and process the seaweed-like Ulva algae before it is studied thoroughly. "Non-seaweed plants should not be used. If there is already a research on it and the plant is stated as consumable, it can then be sold," he suggested.
Soenarwan Hery Poerwanto, M. Kes., one of the researchers, said the pilot seaweed cultivation pool is intended for research as well as to invite people to practice the same thing. "(We’re not supposed) to always take things out from nature," he concluded.