Universidad Católica de Chile - Punta Gruesa

Restoration Project

Universidad Católica de Chile - Punta Gruesa

Restoration Objective:

This study aimed to determine biotic factors that may be limiting local recolonisation of Lessonia along the northern Chilean coast. Specifically, it aimed to determine whether encrusting coralline algae limits the recruitment of Lessonia, and the mechanisms by which it does so.

Site Selection Criteria:

Sites were selected along the northern Chilean coast, where Lessonia is still present in some areas. Quadrats were installed in the intertidal zone where Lessonia normally occurs.

Cause Of Decline:

A strong El Niño event in 1982-1983 caused local extinction in populations of the low intertidal kelp Lessonia nigrescens on northern Chilean coasts. The kelp has partially recolonised, but its recovery has been low.

Key Reasons For Decline:


Scientific Paper

Recruitment of the intertidal kelp Lessonia nigrescens Bory in northern Chile: successional constraints and opportunities

P.A. Camus
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Vol. 184.

Site Observations:

Observation Date

1st Jan 1991 – 1st Jan 1992

Action Summary:

Areas of substrate were cleared of encrusting coralline algae, and the subsequent recruitment of Lessonia propagules was measured.

Lessons Learned:

As propagules were only observed in control plots in three months of the study, statistical significance of differences between treatments could not be calculated.

Project Outcomes:

In removal experiments, encrusting coralline algae had a negative effect on Lessonia recruitment. For naturally occurring recruits, Lessonia recruits consistently occurred on non-smooth substratum or crevices not accessible to grazing by Enochopliton, a herbivorous chiton that feeds on coralline algae. Lessonia was also found in the guts of Enochopliton, showing this may also be a limiting factor for recruitment.

Key Reasons For Decline:


Area of Restoration (Ha)


Indicator Data:


Ending Value:

Starting Value:

Juvenile Kelp Density

/ m2
/ m2
Transplant Info: