SeaCare Inc.
P.O. Box 878
Sandy Bay 7004

At sites where Macrocystis has seriously declined or disappeared, it may be possible to re-establish Macrocystis forests by transplanting juvenile plants from healthy donor sites. This has been successfully done in California in the wake of sea urchin plagues. This could be an continuing program in Tasmania if this action was seen as justifiable from a biological, intrinsic and commercial point of view. Growing from spores is also an option but normally requires laboratory facilities and is thus more expensive.

Site Descriptions
For the trials so far (April 2002), there are six sites in the Derwent Estuary region, one site at Binalong Bay and four in the Mercury Passage. In 2002, SeaCare will be planting at three extra sites in more wave exposed areas near the Mercury Passage. These are sites that have historically had large beds of Macrocystis but now have none. These sites are Point Home, Hellfire Bluff, and Cape Paul Lemanon. (click here to see maps of Macrocystis Sites)

Transplant and donor sites are surveyed by suitably qualified marine biologists before transplants occur, and at regular intervals thereafter. These surveys will examine the possible effects on donor populations of taking plants as well as monitoring for any possible enhancement effects on surrounding biota at transplant sites. Transects are filmed on video when they are surveyed.

Transplant Methodology
The total number of Macrocystis plants taken from a donor area is than 10% of the total population in that area. Volunteer divers collect the Macrocystis plants from an area prescribed by the researchers and replant a designated sites. Transplantation of plants should take place between autumn and spring (latest Macrocystis Dropearly December). Plants will consist of juveniles at least 10 cm in length up to mature plants with up to one-five fronds. Once gently wedged off the rocks, transplants are taken to the surface and kept moist and cool. Ideally they are re-planted the same day or the following day at the latest.
Plants are carefully returned to the water at recipient sites. Plants can be secured using elastic bands to bricks or rocks. The bricks or rocks are then placed on, or adjacent to the reefs and wedged into cracks and crevices.


Macrocystis Infants
Culture of Macrocystis is an option. Young plants can be seeded on to small rocks or other suitable substrate and then dispersed from the surface into the sea or attached to the bottom. This method is currently being trialled using the Marine Studies Centre facilities at Woodbridge in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel and involving students with an interest in aquaculture.


Copyright © SeaCare Inc. 2002