Journal Article

Modelling seagrass growth and development to evaluate transplanting strategies for restoration

Michael Renton, Michael Airey, Marion L. Cambridge and Gary A. Kendrick

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 108, issue 6, pages 1213-1223
Published in print October 2011 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online August 2011 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcr131
Modelling seagrass growth and development to evaluate transplanting strategies for restoration

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
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Background and Aims

Seagrasses are important marine plants that are under threat globally. Restoration by transplanting vegetative fragments or seedlings into areas where seagrasses have been lost is possible, but long-term trial data are limited. The goal of this study is to use available short-term data to predict long-term outcomes of transplanting seagrass.

Methods

A functional–structural plant model of seagrass growth that integrates data collected from short-term trials and experiments is presented. The model was parameterized for the species Posidonia australis, a limited validation of the model against independent data and a sensitivity analysis were conducted and the model was used to conduct a preliminary evaluation of different transplanting strategies.

Key Results

The limited validation was successful, and reasonable long-term outcomes could be predicted, based only on short-term data.

Conclusions

This approach for modelling seagrass growth and development enables long-term predictions of the outcomes to be made from different strategies for transplanting seagrass, even when empirical long-term data are difficult or impossible to collect. More validation is required to improve confidence in the model's predictions, and inclusion of more mechanism will extend the model's usefulness. Marine restoration represents a novel application of functional–structural plant modelling.

Keywords: Functional–structural plant model; FSPM; seagrass; growth; development; Posidonia australis; transplanting; restoration; strategies; evaluation; L-systems

Journal Article.  8095 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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