University of Genoa - Cinque Terre MPA

Restoration Project

University of Genoa - Cinque Terre MPA

Restoration Objective:

The aim of this study was to apply the ex situ technique (outplanting) to midlittoral C. amentacea var. stricta, assessing its survival, cover and growth in the first, most critical, months following implementation. Active marine restoration is needed to prevent loss of the valuable habitats formed by Cystoseira species that enhance biodiversity and preserve ecosystem functions and services.

Site Selection Criteria:

Sites were selected where C. amentacea was found historically but is no longer present due to human activity. The sites are characterized by a tide in the range of 30cm and an average spring temperature of 20C.

Cause Of Decline:

Kelp forests constitute one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems distributed worldwide. In the Mediterranean Sea, the canopy-forming brown algae of the Cystoseira genus are the most important habitat formers as they are widespread in this biogeographic region. However, they are exposed to multiple disturbances that cause a decline in their abundance in many coastal areas. The main pressures affecting the valuable ecosystems formed by Cystoseira are sedimentation, low water quality, anthropisation and overgrazing. Additionally, the natural recovery of Cytoseira in the absence of adult individuals is hampered by the very limited dispersal range of Cystoseira species.

Key Reasons For Decline:


Scientific Paper

First ex situ outplanting of the habitat-forming seaweed Cystoseira amentacea var. stricta from a restoration perspective

G. De La Fuente, M. Chiantore, V. Asnaghi, S. Kaleb, A. Falace
PeerJ, Vol. 7, p.7290.


Site Observations:

Observation Date

20th Jul 2018 – 27th Sep 2018

Action Summary:

Adult Cytoseira amentacea were collected to obtain spores, which were cultured in the lab until the juvenile stage. 3mm long germlings were attached to 400 clay tiles which were fixed to the rocky shore using screws and monitored for two months. Photographic sampling was used to assess survival, cover and growth. Additional sampling was conducted 6 months after installation.

Lessons Learned:

Tiles with at least 25% juvenile cover had higher survival rates compared to those without cover, but survival rates did not increase with higher densities above 25%. However, these different densities were a product of how the juveniles grew naturally rather than an experimental manipulation (tiles were classed as low, medium or high according to percentage cover after culturing), so there may have been a confounding factor affecting survival (e.g. porosity of the tile etc).

Project Outcomes:

After 2 months post-installation, over 40% of the tiles were covered with Cytoseira juveniles which reached approximately 8mm in total length. The tiles that survived the storm (after 6 months) reached 6cm long. The tiles with higher cover of juveniles (25%) had greater survival success.

Nature of Disturbance:

An unprecedented storm surge affected the study site, but these results are reported from before the disturbance.

Key Reasons For Decline:


Area of Restoration (Ha)


Indicator Data:


Ending Value:

Starting Value:

Percent Survival

Transplant Info:
Adherence Method:Tile Culture
Life Stage:Juveniles