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Status, trends and drivers of kelp forests in Europe: an expert assessment


Araujo, RM and Assis, J and Aguillar, R and Airoldi, L and Barbara, I and Bartsch, I and Bekkby, T and Christie, H and Davoult, D and Derrien-Courtel, S and Fernandez, C and Fredriksen, S and Gavaert, F and Gundersen, H and Le Gal, A and Leveque, L and Mieszkowska, N and Norderhaug, KM and Oliveira, P and Puente, A and Rico, JM and Rinde, E and Schubert, H and Strain, EM and Valero, M and Viard, F and Sousa-Pinto, I, Status, trends and drivers of kelp forests in Europe: an expert assessment, Biodiversity and Conservation, 25 pp. 1319-1348. ISSN 0960-3115 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10531-016-1141-7


A comprehensive expert consultation was conducted in order to assess the status, trends and the most important drivers of change in the abundance and geographical distribution of kelp forests in European waters. This consultation included an on-line questionnaire, results from a workshop and data provided by a selected group of experts working on kelp forest mapping and eco-evolutionary research. Differences in status and trends according to geographical areas, species identity and small-scale variations within the same habitat where shown by assembling and mapping kelp distribution and trend data. Significant data gaps for some geographical regions, like the Mediterranean and the southern Iberian Peninsula, were also identified. The data used for this study confirmed a general trend with decreasing abundance of some native kelp species at their southern distributional range limits and increasing abundance in other parts of their distribution (Saccharina latissima and Saccorhiza polyschides). The expansion of the introduced species Undaria pinnatifida was also registered. Drivers of observed changes in kelp forests distribution and abundance were assessed using expertsí opinions. Multiple possible drivers were identified, including global warming, sea urchin grazing, harvesting, pollution and fishing pressure, and their impact varied between geographical areas. Overall, the results highlight major threats for these ecosystems but also opportunities for conservation. Major requirements to ensure adequate protection of coastal kelp ecosystems along European coastlines are discussed, based on the local to regional gaps detected in the study.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:kelp forest, Europe, expert assessment
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems
UTAS Author:Strain, EM (Dr Beth Strain)
ID Code:141413
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:74
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2020-10-19
Last Modified:2021-09-22

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