Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bald reef gets new growth with seaweed transplant

Date:
January 14, 2014
Source:
University of New South Wales
Summary:
Marine ecologists in Sydney have successfully restored a once thriving seaweed species, which vanished along a stretch of the city's coastline during the 1970s and 80s during high levels of sewage outfalls. Researchers transplanted fertile specimens of the missing crayweed (Phyllospora comosa) onto two barren reef sites where it once grew abundantly. The new seaweed survived and reproduced.

Transplanted seaweed is attached to a reef by a team member.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of New South Wales

Marine ecologists in Sydney have successfully restored a once thriving seaweed species, which vanished along a stretch of the city's coastline during the 1970s and 80s when there were high levels of sewage.

Related Articles


A team of researchers from UNSW, the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and the NSW Department of Primary Industries has transplanted fertile specimens of the missing crayweed (Phyllospora comosa) onto two barren reef sites where it once grew abundantly.

They took seaweed from Palm Beach and Cronulla and transplanted it to Long Bay and Cape Banks. Their results are reported in the journal PLOS ONE.

"Seaweeds are the 'trees' of the oceans, providing habitat structure, food and shelter for other marine organisms, such as crayfish and abalone," says lead author, Dr Alexandra Campbell, from the UNSW Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation.

"The transplanted crayweed not only survived similarly to those in natural populations, but they also successfully reproduced. This creates the potential for a self-sustaining population at a place where this species has been missing for decades," she says.

Large brown seaweeds -- known as macroalgae -- along temperate coastlines, like those in NSW, also encourage biodiversity and are important to the region's fishing and tourism industries.

However, these seaweed ecosystems face increasing threats of degradation due to human impacts and ocean warming. The authors say the potential environmental and economic implications of losing these habitats would be comparable to the more highly publicised loss of Australia's tropical coral reefs.

In 2008, researchers from UNSW and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) showed that a 70 km stretch of this important habitat-forming crayweed had vanished from the Sydney coast decades earlier, coinciding with a period known for high levels of sewage.

Despite improved water quality around Sydney after the introduction of better infrastructure in the 1990s, which pumped sewage into the deeper ocean, the 70 km gap of depleted 'underwater forest' -- between Palm Beach and Cronulla -- has never been able to recover naturally.

Now, with some well-executed intervention, it looks as though this habitat-forming crayweed could make a successful comeback in Sydney's coastal waters.

"This is an environmental good news story," says research supervisor UNSW Professor Peter Steinberg, Director of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science.

"This kind of restoration study has rarely been done in these seaweed-dominated habitats, but our results suggest that we may be able to assist in the recovery of underwater forests on Sydney's reefs, potentially enhancing biodiversity and recreational fishing opportunities along our coastline."

The researchers say their results could provide valuable insights for restoring similar macroalgae marine ecosystems in Australia and globally, but further research is needed to understand the complex processes that affect recruitment and survival.

This project was funded in part by a grant from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of New South Wales. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alexandra H. Campbell, Ezequiel M. Marzinelli, Adriana Vergιs, Melinda A. Coleman, Peter D. Steinberg. Towards Restoration of Missing Underwater Forests. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (1): e84106 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084106

Cite This Page:

University of New South Wales. "Bald reef gets new growth with seaweed transplant." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114091958.htm>.
University of New South Wales. (2014, January 14). Bald reef gets new growth with seaweed transplant. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114091958.htm
University of New South Wales. "Bald reef gets new growth with seaweed transplant." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114091958.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) — Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins