Marion, S.R. and R.J. Orth
The use of Zostera marina (eelgrass) seeds for seagrass restoration is increasingly recognized as an alternative to transplanting shoots as losses of seagrass habitat generate interest in large- scale restoration. We explored new techniques for efficient large-scale restoration of Z. marina using seeds by addressing the factors limiting seed collection, processing, survival, and distribution. We tested an existing mechanical harvesting system for expanding the scale of seed collections, and developed and evaluated two new experimental systems. A seeding technique using buoys holding reproductive shoots at restoration sites to eliminate seed storage was tested along with new techniques for reducing seed-processing labor. A series of experiments evaluated storage conditions that maintain viability of seeds during summer storage for fall planting. Finally, a new mechanical seed-planting technique appropriate for large scales was developed and tested.