Optimizing kelp restoration through synthesis and habitat suitability modelling

Mr Aaron Eger1, Dr.  Ezequiel Marzinelli2,3,4, Prof. Peter Steinberg1,3,4, A/Prof. Adriana Vergés1,3

1University Of New South Wales, Kensington, Australia, 2The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, 3Sydney Institute of Marine Science, Mosman, Australia, 4Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore


Temperate kelp forests provide numerous ecosystem services, but kelps have declined substantially across the globe. As a result, efforts are underway to restore kelp forests and their associated services. When attempting ecosystem restoration, two key aspects must be considered: (i) the method of restoration, and (ii) the location where restoration is being attempted. Our research aims to help optimize future restoration efforts by examining these two components of the restoration process. First, we will quantitatively synthesize the existing kelp restoration efforts and provide an up to date understanding of the state of kelp restoration worldwide. By doing so, we will be able to provide recommendations on which methods are most productive and most cost efficient for carrying out kelp restoration regionally and globally. After we establish which methods are most successful in achieving restoration and to what extent these are species- or region-specific, we will develop a model to predict the optimal areas to carry out kelp restoration, using Eastern Australia as a starting point, with the goal of eventually expand the model to other regions. We aim to combine current understanding of kelp habitat suitability with influences of relevant stressors, such as urchin presence/abundances, and future environmental conditions to determine the most suitable sites and ensure that restoration is successful into the future. By combining restoration methods with ecological models, we hope our work will enhance future restoration success.


Aaron is originally form Canada where he did his BSc at McGill University, his MSc at the University of Victoria. He is now undertaking a PhD at the University of New South Wales and is focusing on the marine ecosystem consequences of species redistribution and conservation practices that can help us conserve and restore kelp forests.

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