Research

Understanding patch dynamics to inform mechanisms of kelp bed resilience on urbanised coasts

  • Research Theme
    Ecology & Biodiversity
  • Cross-disciplinary Theme(s)
    Climate Change
  • Funded By

    Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment From 2012 to 2015

  • Principal Investigator
  • Contributor(s)

    Simon Reeves

  • Project Summary

    Sub-tidal rocky reefs dominated by kelp beds cover extensive areas of temperate coastlines worldwide. However, recent studies piecing together baseline information and dynamics over past decades show an increasing trend of kelp bed collapse. Loss of kelp bed habitats has important flow-on effects to entire reef ecosystems, such as reducing structural complexity which supports rich biodiversity and commercially harvestable reef species. Importantly, collapsed kelp beds can be practically unrecoverable as reefs shift to alternative and stable configurations. A seemingly critical, but largely undefined component defining the resilience of kelp beds is the dynamics of fragmentation across remnant kelp patches. This project is therefore exploring spatial dynamics of kelp collapse so that optimal approaches to managing their resilience can be identified.

    Interested in this project?

Authorised by the Executive Director, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
October 30, 2015