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Conservation and ecological restoration of Mediterranean marine forests

Abstract : Loss of marine forests of large brown seaweeds has been observed in recent decades, causing a reduction of ecosystem biodiversity. In the framework of the MMMPA project, this PhD aimed to address some important topics related to the conservation and restoration of algal forests, the role of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and fish herbivory. Different approaches were used: macroalgae surveys, literature reviews, manipulative experiments, tank-based experiments and GIS habitat mapping. Results from field experiments showed that native herbivorous fish, likely Sarpa salpa (salemas), can be the most effective herbivore of intertidal Cystoseira belts both on natural and artificial substrates. Indeed, salemas strongly affected the growth, biomass and reproductive output of natural forests and limited restoration success on artificial substrates. Likely, the role of the herbivorous fish in structuring macroalgal communities has been overlooked in the Mediterranean Sea so far. A review of the existing literature showed that knowledge on marine forests forming species has improved in recent decades. However, most of the research is not in relation to MPAs, likely due to the fact that marine forests are not always included in MPAs planning and management plans. Studies on marine forests are not homogeneously distributed in the world, being concentrated in the developed countries. Interestingly, an increase of the scientific interest (published papers) was observed. Nowadays, marine forests are under continuous threats and especially sensitive to multiple impacts.
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Fabrizio Gianni. Conservation and ecological restoration of Mediterranean marine forests. Earth Sciences. Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016NICE4028⟩. ⟨tel-01816187⟩

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