CIE Spotlight: Restoring rocky intertidal communities: Lessons from a benthic macroalgal ecosystem engineer


Authors: Alecia Bellgrove, Prudence F. McKenzie, Hayley Cameron, Jacqueline B. Pocklington

Source: Marine Pollution Bulletin (Available online 12 February 2017)

Brief summary of the paper: As coastal population growth increases globally, effective waste management practices are required to protect biodiversity. Water authorities are under increasing pressure to reduce the impact of sewage effluent discharged into the coastal environment and restore disturbed ecosystems.

We review the role of benthic macroalgae as ecosystem engineers and focus particularly on the temperate Australasian fucoid Hormosira banksii as a case study for rocky intertidal restoration efforts. Research focussing on the roles of ecosystem engineers is lagging behind restoration research of ecosystem engineers.

As such, management decisions are being made without a sound understanding of the ecology of ecosystem engineers. For successful restoration of rocky intertidal shores it is important that we assess the thresholds of engineering traits (discussed herein) and the environmental conditions under which they are important.