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  • 1
    ISSN: 1573-5117
    Keywords: kelp ; kelp trawling ; recovery ; epiphytes ; holdfast fauna
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Notes: Abstract The kelp Laminaria hyperborea is regularly harvested along the Norwegian coast. Kelp trawling is regulated by restricting this to every 5th year in specified areas. The kelp plants form dense forests, 1–2 m high, and house a large number of epiphytes and associated invertebrates. Kelp, epiphytes, and holdfast (hapteron) fauna were sampled at two different regions in untrawled kelp forest and at sites trawled different number of years ago. We have examined the rate of kelp regrowth after trawling, and in what time scale the associated flora and fauna colonize the trawled areas. The trawl removed all adult kelp plants (the canopy plants), while small understorey kelp plants were left undisturbed. These recruits, given improved light conditions, made the new generation of canopy-forming kelp plants, exceeding a height of 1 m within 2–3 y. The recruitment pattern of the kelp ensures maintenance of kelp forest dominance despite repeated trawling. Both percent cover, abundance and number of epiphytic species increased with time post trawling, but epiphytic communities were not totally re-established before the next trawling episode. Colonization of most species of fauna inhabiting the kelp holdfast were found as early as one year after trawling, but increasing size of the habitat by age of kelp gave room for increasing numbers of both individuals and species. Slow colonization rate by some species might be due to low dispersal potential. Due to a higher maximum age and size of kelp plants in the northernmost region studied, restoration of both kelp and kelp forest community was slower there.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2016-09-06
    Description: This paper focuses on the marine foundation eelgrass species, Zostera marina, along a gradient from the northern Baltic Sea to the north-east Atlantic. This vast region supports a minimum of 1480 km2 eelgrass (maximum 〉2100 km2), which corresponds to more than four times the previously quantified area of eelgrass in Western Europe. Eelgrass meadows in the low salinity Baltic Sea support the highest diversity (4–6 spp.) of angiosperms overall, but eelgrass productivity is low (〈2 g dw m-2 d-1) and meadows are isolated and genetically impoverished. Higher salinity areas support monospecific meadows, with higher productivity (3–10 g dw m-2 d-1) and greater genetic connectivity. The salinity gradient further imposes functional differences in biodiversity and food webs, in particular a decline in number, but increase in biomass of mesograzers in the Baltic. Significant declines in eelgrass depth limits and areal cover are documented, particularly in regions experiencing high human pressure. The failure of eelgrass to re-establish itself in affected areas, despite nutrient reductions and improved water quality, signals complex recovery trajectories and calls for much greater conservation effort to protect existing meadows. The knowledge base for Nordic eelgrass meadows is broad and sufficient to establish monitoring objectives across nine national borders. Nevertheless, ensuring awareness of their vulnerability remains challenging. Given the areal extent of Nordic eelgrass systems and the ecosystem services they provide, it is crucial to further develop incentives for protecting them.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
    Format: text
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2017-11-21
    Description: Human activities and the resultant pressures they place on the marine environment have been widely demonstrated to contribute to habitat degradation, therefore, their identification and quantification is an essential step towards any meaningful restoration effort. The overall scope of MERCES Deliverable 1.2 is to review current knowledge regarding the major marine pressures placed upon marine ecosystems in EU waters and the mechanisms by which they impact habitats in order to determine potential restoration pathways. An understanding of their geographical distribution is critical for any local assessment of degradation, as well as for planning conservation and restoration actions. This information would ideally be in the form of maps, which: (a) compile single or multiple activities and pressures over broad scales, integrating and visualizing available data and allowing direct identification of aggregations as well as gaps and (b) may be overlaid with habitat maps (or any other map layer containing additional information), thus combining different data levels and producing new information to be used for example when implementing EU policies. The deliverable also documents typical example habitat case studies, the prominent impacts and consequences of activities and pressures towards the identification of possible restoration or mitigation actions. Finally the deliverable discusses pressures, assessments, marine spatial planning and blue growth potential. Activities and pressures are used in a strict sense, where marine activities are undertaken to satisfy the needs of societal drivers (e.g. aquaculture or tourism) and pressures are considered to be the mechanism through which an activity has an actual or potential effect on any part of the ecosystem (e.g. for demersal trawling activity, one pressure would be abrasion of the seabed). Habitats are addressed using a nested approach from large-scale geological features (e.g. shallow soft bottoms) to species-characterised habitats (e.g. Posidonia meadows) because of the way they are referred to in current policy documents which lack standard and precise definitions.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Miscellaneous , notRev
    Format: application/pdf
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2017-11-21
    Description: During the last decades, several EU Directives and other international legislations have generated a large number of national initiatives (e.g. marine atlases) and EU programmes on habitat mapping. Nevertheless, the outcomes of these initiatives are fragmented and, to our best knowledge, to date there is no systematic assessment regarding the nature, quality and availability of information across the European seas. One of the main goals of the MERCES project (www.merces-project.eu) is to produce a census of available maps of European key marine habitats, along with their degradation status and restoration potential in the European Seas, providing a potential basis for future discussion on restoration activities. MERCES is producing a census of European marine key habitat maps, degraded habitat maps and investigating key habitat restoration potential. To do this MERCES has i. reviewed known existing habitat maps of European regional seas and provided source citations for all of the information ii. reviewed degraded habitat map resources by regional sea and habitat type (e.g. seagrass, macroalgae, coral gardens, sponge aggregations, seamounts, vents), associated habitat deterioration (e.g. extent of decline), the most common human activities and pressures reported, and the recovery and restoration potential of these habitats iii. reviewed 6 key habitats (including kelp and macroalgal forests, seagrass meadows, coralligenous assemblages, coral gardens and deep-sea bottom communities) and linked 6 major habitat features, such as dynamics, connectivity, structural complexity and vulnerability, to consequences for restoration and the likelihood of restoration success
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Miscellaneous , notRev
    Format: application/pdf
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2020-04-08
    Description: To understand the restoration potential of degraded habitats, it is important to know the key processes and habitat features that allow for recovery after disturbance. As part of the EU (Horizon 2020) funded MERCES project, a group of European experts compiled and assessed current knowledge, from both past and ongoing restoration efforts, within the Mediterranean Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the North-East Atlantic Ocean. The aim was to provide an expert judgment of how different habitat features could impact restoration success and enhance the recovery of marine habitats. A set of biological and ecological features (i.e., life-history traits, population connectivity, spatial distribution, structural complexity, and the potential for regime shifts) were identified and scored according to their contribution to the successful accomplishment of habitat restoration for five habitats: seagrass meadows, kelp forests, Cystoseira macroalgal beds, coralligenous assemblages and cold-water coral habitats. The expert group concluded that most of the kelp forests features facilitate successful restoration, while the features for the coralligenous assemblages and the cold-water coral habitat did not promote successful restoration. For the other habitats the conclusions were much more variable. The lack of knowledge on the relationship between acting pressures and resulting changes in the ecological state of habitats is a major challenge for implementing restoration actions. This paper provides an overview of essential features that can affect restoration success in marine habitats of key importance for valuable ecosystem services.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , isiRev , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2023-09-18
    Description: Marine ecosystem engineers such as seagrasses and bivalves create important coastal habitats sustaining high biodiversity and ecosystem services. Restoring these habitats is difficult due to the importance of feedback mechanisms that can require large-scale efforts to ensure success. Incorporating facilitative interactions could increase the feasibility and success of small-scale restoration efforts, which would limit pressure on donor sites and reduce costs and time associated with restoration. Here, we tested two methods for providing facilitation in small-scale eelgrass (Zostera marina) restoration plots across northern Europe: (1) co-restoration with blue mussels (Mytilus edulis, M. trossulus); and (2) the use of biodegradable establishment structures (BESEs). Eelgrass-mussel co-restoration showed promise in aquaria, where eelgrass growth was nearly twice as high in treatments with medium and high mussel densities than in treatments without mussels. However, this did not translate to higher shoot length or shoot densities in subsequent field experiments. Rather, hydrodynamic exposure limited both eelgrass and mussel survival, especially in the most exposed sites. The use of BESEs showed more potential in enabling small-scale restoration success: they effectively enhanced eelgrass survival and reduced mussel loss, and showed potential for enabling mussel recruitment in one site. However, eelgrass planted in BESE plots along with mussels had a lower survival rate than eelgrass planted in BESE plots without mussels. Overall, we show that though co-restoration did not work at small scales, facilitation by using artificial structures (BESEs) can increase early eelgrass survival and success of small-scale eelgrass and bivalve restoration.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , peerRev
    Format: application/pdf
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