University of Tasmania - Point Home

Restoration Project

University of Tasmania - Point Home

Restoration Objective:

The objective of this project was to restore Macrocystis pyrifera in Tasmania, as it is thought to be declining and provides habitat and food for a wide range of species.

Site Selection Criteria:

Sites were selected where Macrocystis was present historically, but in more wave exposed waters where there are fewer urchins and there is likely to be greater nutrient availability.

Cause Of Decline:

Concern has been raised over the state of Macrocystis pyrifera forests in Tasmania due to the perceived loss of the alga around the Tasmanian coastline. The alga is thought to be highly productive and provides food and shelter for a wide range of animals and plants. Possible reasons for the decline include overharvesting, overfishing of lobsters (leading to increases in urchins), increased boat traffic, sediment disturbance, invasive species, warming waters and El Niño.

Key Reasons For Decline:


Scientific Paper

Restoration of string kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) habitats on Tasmania's east and south coasts

C. Sanderson
Tasmania, Australia.

Site Observations:

Observation Date

10th Sep 2000 – 26th Nov 2002

Action Summary:

Each site (deep and shallow) was marked with a concrete tyre with a subsurface buoy. These buoys were relocated using GPS. Around each site, plants of other species were cleared. These were principally the kelps Ecklonia radiata and Phyllospora comosa. To test for differences with depth of recipient sites, planting of Macrocystis was trialled at 6m and 11m. At each site, when transplanting, mature sporophylls from the donor sites were also attached to the base of the tyres and sporelings were dispersed around the concrete tyre markers.

Lessons Learned:

Transplant origin (donor population), transplant depth and transplant site influenced success.

Project Outcomes:

Better survival of Macrocystis was achieved with transplants from Primrose Sands, believed to be due to greater maturity of plants. Results also indicate deeper transplants may have better survival. The most success was observed at the Cape Paul Lemanon site where there has been good success of transplants as well as very strong recruitment of new plants.

Key Reasons For Decline:


Area of Restoration (Ha)


Indicator Data:


Ending Value:

Starting Value:

Adult Kelp Count