Effects of common seagrass restoration methods on ecosystem structure in subtropical seagrass meadows

  • Published source details Bourque A.S. & Fourqurean J.W. (2014) Effects of common seagrass restoration methods on ecosystem structure in subtropical seagrass meadows. Marine Environmental Research, 97, 67-78.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore biogenic habitats (other methods) - Restore seagrass beds/meadows

Action Link
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
  1. Restore biogenic habitats (other methods) - Restore seagrass beds/meadows

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2010–2011 of 18 seagrass restoration sites in Cutter Bank, Florida Keys, USA (Bourque & Fouraurean 2014) found that one year after restoration, Thalassia testudinum seagrass beds developed a different invertebrate community composition compared to unrestored sites, but not similar to that of natural sites, and similar species richness and abundance to unrestored and natural sites. Restoring by fertilizing had no effect on the invertebrate community but adding sand led to communities different from both unrestored and natural sites (community data presented as graphical analyses and statistical model results). After a year, species richness was similar across sites (restored: 8.6; unrestored: 7.5; natural: 10.2 species). Invertebrate abundance was not different at sites restored by adding sand (abundance: 43.6 individuals/sample) compared to both unrestored (35.7) and natural sites (38.6), with no effect of fertilizing (data not shown). Abundance at the natural sites had declined throughout the year (from 92.2 to 38.6). Seagrass cover declined at all sites throughout the year. Seagrass restoration was undertaken in 2010 at 12 sites disturbed by vessels and six undisturbed natural sites. Three disturbed sites were left unrestored, three were restored by fertilizing, three by adding sand, and three by both fertilizing and adding sand. Of the six undisturbed natural sites, three were fertilized, and three were left natural. Restoration option was randomly allocated to disturbed and undisturbed sites. Zero, three, six and 12 months after restoration, three sediment samples were collected at each site using a randomly placed hand corer (7.3 × 10 cm). Invertebrates (>0.5 mm) were identified and counted. 

    (Summarised by: Anaëlle Lemasson)

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