Cystoseira forests restoration and conservation (CA2014)


In the actual framework of climate change and increasing hu-man perturbations, Cystoseira populations are disappearing from the most populated and urbanized Mediterranean shores. Natural restoration is problematic because of the low recruit-ment and dispersion rates that characterize these species. This project aims to restore the damaged populations incorpo-rating new juvenile individuals bred in laboratory conditions and to establish new restoration protocols that do not damage the existing populations.

Characterization of field populations

We wanted to determine the state of conservation in the various known populations of Cystoseira that we have found in the shallow coastal waters of Catalonia and the Balear Islands. We are controlling populations in Port de la Selva, Cala Montjoi, Palamós (Cala Estreta) and Cala Bona. We control these populations through measurement and monitoring. As part of this control we count individuals per quadrat and we measure the tallest apex of each individual. We also study the distribution of measurements and fertility. We also seek to determine which populations need restauration and which populations would be good donors.

Study of optimal conditions for cultivation

Using lab experiments we study the optimal environmental conditions for cultivation and survival of these species.

In this experiment we are studying the effect of temperature, irradiance and contamination on the growth of juveniles. We have zygotes from three different locations plated on slides in petri dishes exposed to different UV concentrations (200 and 400) at three different temperatures (18°C, 21°C, and 24°C). We measure their growth by counting the juveniles present in each condition. We have observed the development of these individuals from the first cell division until the juvenile stage.

Juvenil culture

In order to restore C.crinita populations through recruitment enhancement/ by improving recruitment, we are developing innovative and non-destructive restoration techniques without adults manipulation of the natural population/ to try to impact as less as possible the threatened natural populations.

We put different stones in the bottom of several tanks full of seawater. The fertile apical branches of C.crinita collected from the donor population were placed floating over the water of the different tanks to allow the settlement of the zygotes in the stones of the bottom. After some months, the stones with the new juveniles were transplanted to the natural populations to restore.

Restoration in the field

Once we obtain a large number of juvenile individuals we will transplant them to the populations in need of restoration. The transplant of individuals of a certain size, increments the probability of survival by avoiding predation and elevated mortality during the initial phases of development.

Once restored, we will continue monitoring the populations to define the viability of the individual transplants and definitively determine the effectiveness of our methods.