Restoration Project

Universidad de Chile - Mineral Talca

Restoration Objective:

This study evaluated whether chimeric kelps exhibit higher genetic diversity and increased fitness compared to genetically homogenous plants. Higher genetic diversity can improve the long-term population sustainability resulting from restoration and restocking efforts.

Site Selection Criteria:

The selected sites had historically experienced over-exploitation and mining activity.

Cause Of Decline:

Along the Chilean coastline, kelp forests (Lessonia- Macrocystis) sustain a broad diversity of marine organisms and are a source of raw materials for several industries (alginates, biofuels, and feed for abalone rearing). Annual harvests of up to 400,000 dry tons provide 10% of the total biomass of brown algae worldwide. However, the frequent harvesting has resulted in population reduction and fragmentation.

Key Reasons For Decline:


Scientific Paper

Building chimeric kelps (Lessonia spp) to restock overharvested populations along central Chile. International Seaweed Symposium. 29 april- 3 may, Jeju, Korea. OR 28-5.

González A.V., Tala F., Vásquez J, Santelices B, .


Universidad de Chile

Site Observations:

Observation Date

10th Aug 2019 – 8th Jan 2020

Action Summary:

Survival rates, morphology, and genetic characteristics were compared between laboratory-built chimeric plants (Patent Nº 1827-2017) versus laboratory built genetically homogenous plants of L. spicata transplanted in the field. Invertebrate richness and abundance were compared between plants.

Lessons Learned:

Results suggest that chimeric kelps are better suited for culture and restocking programs, probably maximizing long-term population sustainability. Future work would evaluate the significance of chimeric plants as sources of genetic diversity and their impact as genetic rescue in seaweed species that suffer inbreeding depression due intense harvesting.

Project Outcomes:

Chimeric plants exhibited four times the survival rate, twice the number of axes, and tripled genetic diversity compared to genetically homogenous plants. In addition, experimental field transplants of chimeric plants have higher survival and growth rates compared to genetically homogenous plants.

Nature of Disturbance:

The study was impacted by the effects of human activity, wave action and storms.

Key Reasons For Decline:


Indicator Data:


Ending Value:

Starting Value:

Adult Kelp Count

Cost Currency:USD