The worldwide decline of marine forests, due to human impacts and climate change, emphasizes the need to develop and implement effective and sustainable solutions to restore these endangered habitats and to re-establish the services they provide. In this study, the ex situ restoration of Gongolaria barbata (=Treptacantha barbata), a Mediterranean subtidal habitat-forming species of brown seaweed, was for the first time implemented in a marine protected area in the Adriatic Sea. Two restoration efforts were performed in 2019. The first was started in winter, after a marine heatwave that triggered early fertility, and the second in spring, when the species usually reproduces. This study aimed to evaluate: (i) the disruptive effects of a thermal anomaly on the reproductive biology and performance in culture of G. barbata; and (ii) the impact of the grazing pressure on juveniles after the outplanting. The first cultivation was more productive than the second, in terms of zygote release and germling growth. To mitigate the low efficiency of the second culture and to avoid prolonged highly demanding maintenance in the mesocosms, the cultivation period was extended outdoors using a structure suspended in the water column. The modular frames conceived for outplanting G. barbata proved to be effective because of their easy operability and low cost. Controlling for herbivorous fish had significant positive effects on both juvenile survival and growth. The outcomes highlighted that an unpredictable climatic event and fish grazing were major threats that impaired the restoration process of G. barbata. These stressors should be considered when developing plans to implement effective large-scale restoration of canopy-forming macroalgae.

Addressing reproductive stochasticity and grazing impacts in the restoration of a canopy-forming brown alga by implementing mitigation solutions

Savonitto G.;Chiantore M.;Falace A.
2021

Abstract

The worldwide decline of marine forests, due to human impacts and climate change, emphasizes the need to develop and implement effective and sustainable solutions to restore these endangered habitats and to re-establish the services they provide. In this study, the ex situ restoration of Gongolaria barbata (=Treptacantha barbata), a Mediterranean subtidal habitat-forming species of brown seaweed, was for the first time implemented in a marine protected area in the Adriatic Sea. Two restoration efforts were performed in 2019. The first was started in winter, after a marine heatwave that triggered early fertility, and the second in spring, when the species usually reproduces. This study aimed to evaluate: (i) the disruptive effects of a thermal anomaly on the reproductive biology and performance in culture of G. barbata; and (ii) the impact of the grazing pressure on juveniles after the outplanting. The first cultivation was more productive than the second, in terms of zygote release and germling growth. To mitigate the low efficiency of the second culture and to avoid prolonged highly demanding maintenance in the mesocosms, the cultivation period was extended outdoors using a structure suspended in the water column. The modular frames conceived for outplanting G. barbata proved to be effective because of their easy operability and low cost. Controlling for herbivorous fish had significant positive effects on both juvenile survival and growth. The outcomes highlighted that an unpredictable climatic event and fish grazing were major threats that impaired the restoration process of G. barbata. These stressors should be considered when developing plans to implement effective large-scale restoration of canopy-forming macroalgae.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/1073642
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