Restoration actions under Covid-19 pandemia: possible positive effects on the success

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Silvia Bianchelli, Fabio Rindi, Marco Lo Martire, Davide Ippoliti, Simonetta Fraschetti, Roberto Danovaro R

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In the Mediterranean Sea, the algal forests composed by fucalean brown seaweeds of Cystoseira, Erikaria, and Gongolaria form one of the most complex, productive and vulnerable shallow-water habitats. These forests are rapidly regressing with negative impact on the associated biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. In this study we carried out a pilot restoration action of Gongolaria barbata (former Cystoseria barbata) along the Monte Conero coast (Western-Central Adriatic Sea, Mediterranean Sea), under different conditions of human impact (i.e., presence of a harbour, hurbanization and tourism) and natural characteristics (i.e., different levels of exposure). To perform the experiment, we took advantage of the lockdown imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic, which possibly contribute to the healthy-donor population of G. barbata to grow in a large rock-pool near Ancona town and to efficiently recruit with lower human pressures during the spring months. The new recruits were found also on many small boulders, which were used for transplanting in the selected sites. The experiment is still ongoing and the first results confirms that this approach is feasible (thus allowing to avoid any laboratory cultures). We observed different grow rate levels depending on the experimental site, with the maximum observed in the site farthest from the city, with possible positive effects also on the associated benthic fauna and possible implications in assessing restoration thresholds along gradients of human pressures.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program