Active Ecological Restoration of Cold-Water Corals: Techniques, Challenges, Costs and Future Directions

Type Article
Date 2021-09
Language English
Author(s) Montseny Maria1, Linares Cristina2, Carreiro-Silva Marina3, Henry Lea-Anne4, Billett David5, Cordes Erik E.6, Smith Christopher J.7, Papadopoulou Nadia7, Bilan Meri3, 8, Girard Fanny9, Burdett Heidi L.10, Larsson Ann11, Strömberg Susanna11, Viladrich Núria2, 12, Barry James P.13, Baena Patricia1, Godinho Antonio3, Grinyó Jordi1, 14, Santín Andreu1, Morato Telmo3, Sweetman Andrew K.9, Gili Josep-Maria1, Gori Andrea1, 2, 8
Affiliation(s) 1 : Institute of Marine Sciences, Spanish National Research Council, Barcelona, Spain
2 : Departament de Biologia Evolutiva, Ecologia i Cienciès Ambientals, Institut de Recerca de la Biodiversitat, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
3 : IMAR-Instituto do Mar, Instituto de Investigação em Ciências do Mar – OKEANOS da Universidade dos Açores, Horta, Portugal
4 : School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
5 : National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom
6 : Department of Biology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, United States
7 : Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Crete, Greece
8 : Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche e Ambientali, Università del Salento, Lecce, Italy
9 : Laboratoire Environnement Profond, Département Etude des Ecosystèmes Profonds, Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer, Plouzané, France
10 : The Lyell Centre for Earth and Marine Science, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
11 : Department of Marine Sciences-Tjärnö Marine Laboratory, University of Gothenburg, Strömstad, Sweden
12 : School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, Seattle, WA, United States
13 : Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA, United States
14 : Department of Ocean Systems Sciences, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Utrecht University, Den Burg, Netherlands
Source Frontiers In Marine Science (2296-7745) (Frontiers Media SA), 2021-09 , Vol. 8 , P. 621151 (21p.)
DOI 10.3389/fmars.2021.621151
WOS© Times Cited 11
Keyword(s) deep-sea, human impacts, coral reefs, marine protected area, coral husbandry, challenges, review

Cold-water coral (CWC) habitats dwell on continental shelves, slopes, seamounts, and ridge systems around the world’s oceans from 50 to 4000 m depth, providing heterogeneous habitats which support a myriad of associated fauna. These highly diverse ecosystems are threatened by human stressors such as fishing activities, gas and oil exploitation, and climate change. Since their life-history traits such as long lifespan and slow growth rates make CWCs very vulnerable to potential threats, it is a foremost challenge to explore the viability of restoration actions to enhance and speed up their recovery. In contrast to terrestrial and shallow-water marine ecosystems, ecological restoration in deep marine environments has received minimal attention. This review, by means of a systematic literature search, aims to identify CWC restoration challenges, assess the most suitable techniques to restore them, and discuss future perspectives. Outcomes from the few restoration actions performed to date on CWCs, which have lasted between 1 to 4 years, provide evidence of the feasibility of coral transplantation and artificial reef deployments. Scientific efforts should focus on testing novel and creative restoration techniques, especially to scale up to the spatial and temporal scales of impacts. There is still a general lack of knowledge about the biological, ecological and habitat characteristics of CWC species exploration of which would aid the development of effective restoration measures. To ensure the long-term viability and success of any restoration action it is essential to include holistic and long-term monitoring programs, and to ideally combine active restoration with natural spontaneous regeneration (i.e., passive restoration) strategies such as the implementation of deep-sea marine protected areas (MPAs). We conclude that a combination of passive and active restoration approaches with involvement of local society would be the best optimal option to achieve and ensure CWC restoration success.

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Publisher's official version 21 2 MB Open access
Supplementary Box 1 | Bycatch gorgonians transplanted onto artificial structures. 2 114 KB Open access
Supplementary Box 2 | A cost-effective and large-scale method to transplant gorgonians. 1 121 KB Open access
Supplementary Box 3 | ROV-based translocation of coral fragments. 2 78 KB Open access
Supplementary Box 4 | Restoration of Lophelia pertusa reef habitats in Skagerrak: enhancement of larval settling. 4 209 KB Open access
Supplementary Box 5 | Coral colonization of oil and gas platforms. 2 152 KB Open access
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Montseny Maria, Linares Cristina, Carreiro-Silva Marina, Henry Lea-Anne, Billett David, Cordes Erik E., Smith Christopher J., Papadopoulou Nadia, Bilan Meri, Girard Fanny, Burdett Heidi L., Larsson Ann, Strömberg Susanna, Viladrich Núria, Barry James P., Baena Patricia, Godinho Antonio, Grinyó Jordi, Santín Andreu, Morato Telmo, Sweetman Andrew K., Gili Josep-Maria, Gori Andrea (2021). Active Ecological Restoration of Cold-Water Corals: Techniques, Challenges, Costs and Future Directions. Frontiers In Marine Science, 8, 621151 (21p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :