Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile restoration: study of early signs of epifaunal community recovery

Marcel Montanyès
room 1
Session 2, August 26, 11:00-12:30

Ecological restoration aims to restore degraded habitats, the ecosystem functioning and the services that it provides (McSkimming et al., 2016). Seagrass habitats sustain a variety of epifaunal invertebrates that have high secondary production (Fredette & Diaz, 1986) and are an important trophic link between the primary producers and secondary consumers (Sobocinski & Latour, 2015). In this work, we evaluate the early recovery of the epifaunal community one year after restoring two hectares of Posidonia oceanica meadow in the North of Mallorca. The study seeks to estimate the extent of epifaunal community recovery in a gradient of habitat complexity, comparing established meadows, the restored area and unrestored dead matte. We hypothesize that epifaunal community in the established meadow will show the largest abundance and diversity of invertebrates, followed by the plantation areas and lastly, the dead matte. The results suggest that plantation units and matte were very important habitats for winter epifaunal communities, as they supported similar values than inner and edge meadow habitats in terms of abundance but for some taxa even higher values in terms of density per total macrophyte leaf area and/or total macrophyte leaf biomass. Therefore, and contrary than expected, higher epifaunal densities were found in those habitats with lower habitat complexity meaning that epifaunal densities were negatively affected by structural complexity. Furthermore, similar epifaunal densities were found between plantations and matte, which suggest that the planted shoots had no effect in the winter epifaunal community and therefore there is no recovery on the plantation communities.