Transplantation as a method for restoring the seagrass Posidonia australis

Geoffrey Bastyan, Marion Cambridge

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60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Transplant trials of the seagrass Posidonia australis were carried out after loss of seagrasses following eutrophication and increased turbidity in two marine inlets on the south coast of Western Australia. A pilot study in Oyster Harbour measured survival and growth in situ for 4 years. Long-term survival rates were high (96–98%), providing plants were anchored into the sediment. All unanchored plants were lost in the first winter. Following the success of the pilot study, a more comprehensive program began 3 years later with over 500 transplant units collected from either actively growing edges of nearby patches (plagiotropic growth form) or within established meadows (orthotropic growth form). Transplant units from edges expanded at a faster rate compared to units from mid-meadow but increases in shoot numbers were similar. Growth rates in the first 2.5 years averaged 10–20 cm yr−1 horizontal rhizome extension, depending on the source of the transplant units, and 4–12 shoots per initial shoot yr−1, depending on the initial shoot number of the transplant unit. After 5 years, shoot numbers of individual transplants were similar to shoot densities recorded for natural meadows, >500 shoots m−2. Approximately, 10% of transplants from mid-meadow flowered in the first year, whereas transplants from edges flowered only after 5 years.Transplant trials were also established in nearby Princess Royal Harbour at a site selected to test the effect of disturbance by bioturbation from large sand-burrowing worms or by sediment erosion. Survival was lower than in Oyster Harbour, 75–89% in areas with bioturbation but only 14% in areas where sediments were eroded. Growth was poor,
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-299
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Volume79
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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