Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research - Chipana Bay

Restoration Project

Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research - Chipana Bay

Restoration Objective:

The aim of this study was to test the effect of kelp on the abundance, composition and spatial distribution of the rockfish community, in order to support conservation, restoration and management issues.

Cause Of Decline:

In coastal upwelling regions of the Northeast and Southeast Pacific, the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) causes alternative habitat states, i.e. dense kelp beds, kelp patches and deforested barren grounds, due to variable physical factors and biological top–down effects. In addition, storms can detach entire plants from the substratum, which became entangled with attached plants either ripping them free or causing extensive stipe loss. A survey at Catalina Island in December 1984 showed the complete loss of M. pyrifera at all depths.

Key Reasons For Decline:


Scientific Paper

Effect of foresting barren ground with Macrocystis pyrifera (Linnaeus) C. Agardh on the occurrence of coastal fishes off northern Chile

M. Villegas, J. Laudien, W. Sielfeld, W. Arntz
Journal of Applied Phycology, Vol. 31.

Site Observations:

Observation Date

15th Feb 2007 – 15th Feb 2007

Action Summary:

Boulders (diameter 30–60 cm) that were naturally colonised by M. pyrifera that extended to the water surface were collected by scientific scuba divers. The plants were transported in a tub, fixed 5 m underneath a fishing boat, to three replicated experimental plots (3 m × 3 m each).

Lessons Learned:

Kelp increased Rockfish abundance.

Project Outcomes:

Fishes were significantly more abundant at the forested plots (mean = 3.71 ind./9 m2) compared to the controls without kelp (mean = 0.86 ind./9 m2).

Nature of Disturbance:

Several transplants were detached by swell during large storms.

Key Reasons For Decline:


Area of Restoration (Ha)


Indicator Data:


Ending Value:

Starting Value:

Adult Kelp Count