Projects

The importance of environment-engineer feedbacks to the resilience, stability and community dynamics of kelp forests

This project, located in Tasmania, was part of a larger research program investigating how feedbacks and facilitation influence kelp forest resilience, structure and function, and involved the transplanting of 500+ adult common kelp (Ecklonia radiata) onto an array of artificial reefs over 1.5 ha. Using this unique experimental environment, we examined whether the breakdown of positive environment-engineer feedbacks caused by habitat degradation (i.e. reductions in patch size and adult density) influenced kelp forest stability and resilience. We also investigated how these changes to habitat structure influenced the recruitment, productivity and diversity of the associated kelp forest community, including invertebrate, fish and understorey algal assemblages.

More information:

http://www.imas.utas.edu.au/news/news-items/massive-kelp-forest-experiment-to-beat-habitat-loss

http://www.utas.edu.au/news/2015/8/30/2-kelp-is-on-its-way/

http://www.imas.utas.edu.au/news/news-items/innovative-artificial-reef-study-exposes-vulnerability-of-kelp

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0210220

Researchers involved:

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania

Craig Johnson, Jeffrey Wright, Cayne Layton, Victor Shelamoff, Masayuki Tatsumi, Matthew Cameron

Funding:

  • Australian Research Council

  • Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment


Assessing the Potential for Restoration and Permaculture of Tasmania’s Giant Kelp Forests

Dense giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) forests were previously a conspicuous and iconic feature of the Tasmanian coast. But increased influence of warm and nutrient-poor East Australian Current water in Tasmania has resulted in losses of up to 95% of giant kelp canopy-cover across much of this area. This project in collaboration and the Climate Foundation – as part of their global program to regenerate food security, ecosystem services and mitigate the effects of climate change – aims to investigate the possibility of restoring Tasmania’s giant kelp forests by identifying and selecting thermally tolerant and low-nutrient-tolerant giant kelp. This project is ‘Phase I’ of a potential larger project and aims to assess the potential for up-scaling of restoration and Marine Permaculture efforts and fill critical knowledge-gaps to provide scientific rigour and risk-management to these efforts.

More information:

http://imas.utas.edu.au/research/ecology-and-biodiversity/projects/projects/assessing-the-potential-for-restoration-and-permaculture-of-tasmanias-giant-kelp-forests

https://www.nespmarine.edu.au/project/project-e7-%E2%80%93-assessing-feasibility-restoring-giant-kelp-beds-eastern-tasmania

http://www.imas.utas.edu.au/news/news-items/restoring-tasmanias-giant-kelp-forests-the-focus-of-new-research-project

Researchers involved:

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania

Cayne Layton, Masayuki Tatsumi, Jeff Wright, Craig Johnson

The Climate Foundation

Brian von Herzen

Funding:

The Climate Foundation

Australian Government National Environmental Science Program, Marine Biodiversity Hub


Map of Projects