LAB-BASED DEVELOPMENT OF CYSTOSEIRA SSP. RESTORATION METHODOLOGIES (WP2)

 

WP. 2. Overview and Objectives of the Work Package

The Cystoseira genus is a very diverse group, containing species that can thrive from the intertidal to the lower sub-tidal, and have diverse biological traits and environmental tolerances (substratum type, depth, water movement). Therefore, understanding the properties of the species and their environmental tolerances is key in identifying the most adequate restoration techniques and locations. In addition, the probability of success of restoration will also depend on the sensitivity of the different species to anthropogenic pressures. Nutrients, chemical pollution (from metals to several persistent organic pollutants), and climate change are among the stressors frequently associated with fragmentation and loss of Cystoseira populations, and may determine restoration success. Response variables such as population size-structure or habitat diversity have been proposed as important determinants of restoration success, however, hasn’t been tested and their importance may vary among species or habitats. The main aim of WP2 is to adapt and refine the successful restoration techniques developed in MERCES project to fit the biological traits of key Cystoseira species whilst accounting for the different ecological and environment conditions in the basin. Experiments in mesocosms will be carried out in order to improve current levels of understanding of the impact of drivers of change commonly found in the region – building on those identified in WP1. These experiments will seek to identify quantitative thresholds of tolerance for different species with different biological traits by subjecting them to a range of pressures. This information will allow species-specific protocols to be developed in order to increase the probability for successful restoration (WP3). Such contextual information, together with the results of WP1, are critical to predict the most vulnerable areas and species, as well as identify natural refuges and resistant species within the Mediterranean Sea. The strategy of this WP is based on two main objectives:

1) identify species specific responses to a range of anthropogenic and environmental pressures and

2) develop tools to explore and enhance temporal and spatial outcomes of restoration actions.

Applicants Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn (SZNand Universitat de Girona (UdG) are co-leaders of this WP