Storm-generated Fragments of the Seagrass Posidonia oceanica from Beach Wrack: A Potential Source of Transplants for Restoration

Balestri, E., F. Vallerini and C. Lardicci

Publication Date:

The use of fragments detached naturally from Posidonia oceanica, a threatened seagrass protected by European legislation, as non-destructive alternative to removing cuttings from donor meadows for restoration efforts has been recently proposed. A 4-year study was performed to investigate whether storm-generated fragments deposited on beaches can be salvaged and used as transplant source. Four months after collection, fragment survival was high (80–96%). Half of the fragments regenerated and survived as long as 3 years in tanks. Initial growth form and size were not predictors of fragment survival or regeneration probability. Division of fragments allowed doubling transplant number. One year after transplanting, 50% of the fragments on the artificial reef were still present and ca. half of them produced new shoots. This indicates that fragments retain the capacity to re-establish once reintroduced into the field and thus could represent a potentially important transplant source. The use of this material could have major advantages over traditional restoration techniques, including large availability with zero impact on existing populations and low collection efforts.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Biological Conservation