An assessment of the utility of green gravel as a kelp restoration tool in wave-exposed intertidal habitats

Earp, HS, Smale, DA, Catherall, HJN and Moore, PJ 2024 An assessment of the utility of green gravel as a kelp restoration tool in wave-exposed intertidal habitats. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 104.

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Kelp forests are being degraded and/or lost in many regions, and as such, interest in active kelp restoration approaches to reinstate forests is growing. ‘Green gravel’ is a promising new kelp restoration technique that involves seeding small rocks with kelp zoospores, rearing the gametophyte and juvenile sporophyte stages in aquaria before outplanting them at restoration sites. However, to be considered a viable approach to kelp forest restoration, the efficacy of this technique needs to be assessed across a range of environmental contexts and kelp species. Here, we aimed to understand the utility of green gravel as a kelp restoration technique for wave-exposed intertidal shores. Two substrate types – gravel and cobbles – were seeded with Saccharina latissima, reared in the aquarium and outplanted at two sites along the northeast coast of England. Outplanted rocks were monitored for retention, and the density and length of S. latissima. Juvenile sporophytes persisted on both rock types, although declines in density and variations in length were observed over time. Substrate retention was low, with gravel more likely to be removed from restoration sites compared to cobbles, and all outplanted rocks were lost after eight months. While our initial testing of the green gravel restoration technique on wave-exposed shores was not successful, our results provide important insights for developing/refining the technique and a baseline for comparison for future efforts. However, prior to commencing large-scale kelp restoration in wave-exposed areas using green gravel, further testing of the technique and comparisons with other restoration approaches are needed.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: conservation, kelp forest, macroalgae, reforestation, Saccharina latissima, seaweed, seeding, sporophyte, transplant
Subjects: Conservation
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Marine Biological Association of the UK > Coastal Ecology
Depositing User: Ms Kristina Hixon
Date made live: 12 Apr 2024 08:56
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2024 08:56

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