The global decline of brown algal forests along rocky coasts is causing an exceptional biodiversity loss. Regardless of conservation efforts, different techniques have been developed for large-scale restoration strategies in the Mediterranean Sea.

This study tested ex situ pilot restoration of the erect brown Cystoseira sensu latu species Gongolaria barbata for the first time in Slovenian coastal waters.

For this purpose, healthy apical fronds of the species were collected and the development of recruits on clay tiles was followed under laboratory conditions for 20 days. Despite some experimental difficulties, G. barbata recruits were outplanted in the area of two concrete plates with 48 tiles each, protected by cages to avoid grazing.

The authors state that the high survival rate of juveniles after four months in the field suggests that outplanting G. barbata is an operable approach for restoration efforts in the northern Adriatic Sea.

It is concluded that this first experiment provides new information for the optimization of the best practices during the laboratory cultivation and addresses the early steps of restoration and introduction of young thalli in the natural environment.

Orlando-Bonaca et al. (2021) First restoration experiment for Gongolaria barbata in Slovenian coastal waters. What can go wrong? Plants 10: 239.