Restoration of Missing Underwater Forests in Sydney

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Dr Ezequiel Marzinelli, Dr Alexandra Campbell, Dr Adriana Verges and Prof Peter Steinberg from UNSW Australia will focus their research on restoring locally extinct populations of crayweed along the Sydney metropolitan coast, in order to increase amounts of biogenic habitat for fish, abalone and lobster, support detritus based food webs that underpin key fish populations, increase local biodiversity and primary productivity and provide ecologically and methodologically sensible advice for further seaweed restoration and management.

Habitat-forming crayweed has gone extinct along the Sydney metropolitan region, impacting abalone, lobsters and key fish species. This project will restore populations of these missing algal forests in an ecologically sensible way, enhancing local diversity of fish and other marine organisms. The restoration of crayweed will improve recreational fishing and spearfishing opportunities adjacent to NSW’s largest population of fishers, by enhancing populations of abalone, lobsters and key fish species. As major habitat-forming seaweed, crayweed creates local environments that support abalone, lobsters and a variety of fish species. Crayweed also enhances primary productivity and contributes detritus to food webs that underpin key fish populations, such a mulloway, bream and flathead. The general approach to restoring underwater seaweed forests may contribute to methods for enhancing seaweed forests and their associated fish and shellfish worldwide.

Crayweed in Long Bay