Shallow forests restoration in the context of global change

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Margalida Monserrat, Steeve Comeau, Luisa Mangialajo

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Marine forests loss is a worldwide phenomenon that is particularly evident in the Mediterranean Sea. The consequent loss of ecosystem functions and services, and the lack of evidence of natural recovery highlight the need of restoration actions. It is however essential to consider the role played by external factors such as climate change and herbivores because they could compromise the outcome of future restoration actions. Here, we studied the effects of ocean warming and herbivory on the recruitment and survival of early life stages of Cystoseira compressa to assess the potential of restoring this species under ongoing global change. C. compressa branches were collected in June 2019 and the emission of gametes from mature conceptacles was stimulated to foster recruitment. The effect of temperature on recruits was assessed during a four months laboratory study where recruits were maintained at 24, 28 and 32 °C. Simultaneously, herbivory pressure was assessed during a cage exclusion in situ experiment on both juveniles recruited in vitro on artificial substrates (same technique as in the laboratory experiments) and natural recruits. Higher temperatures negatively affected the survival of C. compressa, while the grow rate was comparable in the three temperatures. Herbivores affected negatively the density of recruits after two months, while no clear benefice of recruitment enhancement was observed, likely because of the presence of neighbor reproductive adults. Our results show that global and local drivers can influence Cystoseira sensu latu recruitment and have to be taken into account in restoration actions.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program