Brown algal forests provide many ecosystem services but are declining worldwide, prompting a growing number of conservation and restoration efforts. Recent attempts to recover Cystoseira forests are encouraging in the Mediterranean, but whether this is possible in more challenging Atlantic conditions has not yet been investigated. In this study, we assess the feasibility of cultivating Gongolaria nodicaulis by producing ex-situ recruits for reforestation on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Embryos of G. nodicaulis were cultured on clay tiles for 26 days under controlled conditions without water motion, reaching an average length of 3mm before being outplanted on the intertidal zone. The transplants were monitored for six months. Recruits experienced high loss rates, approximately 47% of zygotes within 7 days in culture and 75% of outplanted seedlings within 10 days in the field. The latter might result from natural self-thinning (competition), but our observations suggested that it was also largely due to the weak attachment of recruits to the tiles resulting from cultivation under calm conditions. Six months after the transplants, the surviving individuals reached the size of wild adult algae (average length of 13.5cm), and some even became reproductive. Globally, survival rates, growth, physiological condition and fertility in this restoration pilot suggest that ex-situ recruitment and outplanting of G. nodicaulis is a promising approach to recover forests in Atlantic Morocco

Feasibility of ex-situ recruitment and outplanting of Gongolaria nodicaulis (Fucales, Phaeophyceae) for restoration of warm temperate marine forests in Atlantic Morocco

Annalisa Falace;
2024-01-01

Abstract

Brown algal forests provide many ecosystem services but are declining worldwide, prompting a growing number of conservation and restoration efforts. Recent attempts to recover Cystoseira forests are encouraging in the Mediterranean, but whether this is possible in more challenging Atlantic conditions has not yet been investigated. In this study, we assess the feasibility of cultivating Gongolaria nodicaulis by producing ex-situ recruits for reforestation on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Embryos of G. nodicaulis were cultured on clay tiles for 26 days under controlled conditions without water motion, reaching an average length of 3mm before being outplanted on the intertidal zone. The transplants were monitored for six months. Recruits experienced high loss rates, approximately 47% of zygotes within 7 days in culture and 75% of outplanted seedlings within 10 days in the field. The latter might result from natural self-thinning (competition), but our observations suggested that it was also largely due to the weak attachment of recruits to the tiles resulting from cultivation under calm conditions. Six months after the transplants, the surviving individuals reached the size of wild adult algae (average length of 13.5cm), and some even became reproductive. Globally, survival rates, growth, physiological condition and fertility in this restoration pilot suggest that ex-situ recruitment and outplanting of G. nodicaulis is a promising approach to recover forests in Atlantic Morocco
2024
1-mag-2024
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3074118
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