Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn - Marittima

Restoration Project

Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn - Marittima

Restoration Objective:

This study aimed to determine 1) the variation in the abundance of germlings during all the outplanting steps; 2) the separate and combined effects of the presence of adult conspecifics and the exclusion of macrograzers on the abundance of Cystoseira recruits; 3) which conditions can increase the number of Cytoseira recruits that reach the adult stage; 4) the efficiency of adult transplant in driving germling survival; and 5) the feasibility of a restoration intervention on a scale of tens of kilometres.

Site Selection Criteria:

Sites were selected that either had an adult Cytoseira canopy or had historically had kelp beds.

Cause Of Decline:

Macroalgal forests are severely threatened by several stressors such as direct degradation or destruction of habitat, coastal urbanisation, pollution, and herbivores outbreaks, acting in combination with climate change. As with many other habitat-forming macroalgal species worldwide, Cystoseira forests have been declining in the Mediterranean basin during the last decades and natural recovery has been recorded only occasionally. Although preserving such complex and highly productive habitats represents a priority to maintain the associated biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, restoration of macroalgal forests has been largely neglected compared to other marine habitats.

Key Reasons For Decline:


Scientific Paper

Are we ready for scaling up restoration actions? An insight from Mediterranean macroalgal canopies

L. Tamburello, Guarnieri Papa, Basconi G., S. Zampardi, M.B. Scipione, S. Fraschetti
PLOS ONE, Vol. 14, p.224477.

Site Observations:

Observation Date

15th Jul 2018 – 15th Oct 2018

Action Summary:

Cystoseira amentacea v. stricta germlings were cultured in aquaria on tiles then transplanted to the field. In each quadrat, 5 tiles with germlings were fixed with epoxy glue in the inner 20 x 20cm.

Lessons Learned:

Germling numbers decline din transit and over time (e.g. from morning to afternoon of a study day). Grazers influenced survival, but adult conspecifics did not.

Project Outcomes:

At the end of the nursery phase, tiles were colonized by an average of 450.65 germlings (SE ±47.04, n = 194). Numbers declined during transport and over time. Despite the high mortality observed during out-planting and early settlement stages, survival of C. amentacea germlings was significantly favoured by the exclusion of macro grazers, while the presence of adult conspecifics had no effects. In addition, the cost analysis of the interventions showed the feasibility of the ex-situ method, representing an essential tool for preserving Cystoseira forests.

Key Reasons For Decline:


Area of Restoration (Ha)


Indicator Data:


Ending Value:

Starting Value:

Juvenile Kelp Density

/ m2
/ m2
Cost Year:2019