Translocate species - Translocate worms
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Many populations of marine subtidal benthic invertebrate species have declined or been depleted due to the multiple threats they are under, such as habitat loss and overharvest (Airoldi et al. 2008; Hobday et al. 2000). To counteract this phenomenon, marine subtidal benthic invertebrates can be translocated from a site with a healthy population, either to introduce a species to a new site (where they did not historically occur), to reintroduce a species to a site (where they used to occur), or to enhance the population at a site where the species is already present by increasing its abundance (Hughes et al. 2008; Swan et al. 2016). As the outcomes of translocating species can vary largely with the type of species, studies have been grouped by broader taxonomic group (e.g: crustaceans such as lobsters or prawns; molluscs such as abalone, scallops, or mussels; worms).
When translocation is undertaken for a habitat-forming (biogenic) species, effects on the invertebrates associated with the habitat are reported in “Habitat restoration and creation – Translocate habitat-forming (biogenic) species”. Evidence from transplantation studies of hatchery-reared species is summarised under “Species management – Transplant/release captive-bred or hatchery-reared species” and “Habitat restoration and creation – Transplant/release captive-bred or hatchery-reared habitat-forming (biogenic) species”.
Airoldi L., Balata D. & Beck M.W. (2008) The gray zone: relationships between habitat loss and marine diversity and their applications in conservation. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 366, 8–15.
Hobday A.J., Tegner M.J. & Haaker P.L. (2000) Over-exploitation of a broadcast spawning marine invertebrate: decline of the white abalone. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 10, 493–514.
Hughes D.J., Poloczanska E.S. & Dodd J. (2008) Survivorship and tube growth of reef‐building Serpula vermicularis (Polychaeta: Serpulidae) in two Scottish sea lochs. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 18, 117–129.
Swan K.D., McPherson J.M., Seddon P.J. & Moehrenschlager A. (2016) Managing marine biodiversity: the rising diversity and prevalence of marine conservation translocations. Conservation Letters, 9, 239–251.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, controlled study in 2004–2005 of four soft seabed sites in two sea lochs in west Scotland, UK (Hughes et al. 2008) found that a year after translocation, survivorship and growth of the reef-forming red tube worm Serpula vermicularis were different when translocated to a new Loch or back to the source Loch. In Loch Sween (new Loch), translocated tubes gradually disappeared and only remnants remained after one year. No mortality and growth data were recorded for Loch Sween. In Loch Creran (the source Loch) 76% of tubes were recovered after one year. Mortality averaged 5.3% and tube growth averaged 32–33 mm/year at Loch Creran. In June and July 2004, clusters of tubes containing living individuals of the red tube worm were manually collected by divers from one site in Loch Creran. Seven to ten days later, 10 clusters (10 tubes with living worm/cluster) were translocated at 1 m intervals to each of four sites: two in Loch Sween where wild populations died out (3–4 m depth) and two back in Loch Creran (9–10 m depth). For a year, clusters were monitored at intervals, and the remaining clusters recovered in July 2005. For each tube, the presence of living worm was recorded, and its growth measured.Study and other actions tested