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Marine forests at risk: solutions to halt the loss and promote the recovery of Mediterranean canopy-forming seaweeds


Airoldi, L and Ballesteros, E and Buonuomo, R and van Belzen, J and Bouma, TJ and Cebrian, E and de Clerk, O and Engelen, AH and Ferrario, F and Fraschetti, S and Gianni, F and Guidetti, P and Ivesa, L and Mancuso, FP and Micheli, F and Perkol-Finkel, S and Serrao, EA and Strain, EM and Mangialajo, L, Marine forests at risk: solutions to halt the loss and promote the recovery of Mediterranean canopy-forming seaweeds, Proceedings of the 5th Mediterranean Symposium on Marine Vegetation, 27-28 October 2014, Portoroz, Slovenia, pp. 28-33. (2014) [Refereed Conference Paper]


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Copyright 2014 United Nations Environment Programme, Mediterranean Action Plan, Regional Activity Center for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA)


Along Mediterranean coasts, canopy-forming seaweeds used to form diverse, productive and valuable "forest" habitats, but in the past decades conspicuous declines, sometimes to local extinction, have been reported in many regions. Canopies are retracting particularly close to urban areas, and are replaced by turf-forming and ephemeral algae or barrens. The persisting forests are under continued threat, and current protection measures are insufficient. We provide evidence that declines of canopy algae are dramatically extensive, and are driven by multiple local (nutrient enrichment and high sediment loads, fishing, heavy metal pollution) and global stressors (increasing temperature, high wave exposure). We also show that the combined management of local stressors (such as nutrients and sediments) would increase significantly the resilience of canopy algae to future climatic stressors, preventing their further deterioration. Finally, we discuss restoration prospects in areas where these systems have been lost. We conclude identifying the main needs to understand, guide and motivate effective conservation actions in these valuable ecosystems.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Conference Paper
Keywords:canopy algae, habitat loss, Mediterranean Sea, multiple threats, conservation
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:141438
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2020-10-20
Last Modified:2021-09-22
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