Tropical Water Quality Hub research evaluating the removal of macroalgae from coral as a reef restoration technique has been published in Restoration Ecology.

A TWQ Hub project led by Dr Ian McLeod at James Cook University, examines different coral restoration strategies from around the world in a Great Barrier Reef context.

Corals face fierce competition from fleshy-bodied macroalgae, which can gain an advantage in disturbed environments with higher-than-normal nutrient levels and lack of predators.

Physically removing the macroalgae from a reef area might give coral in the area a chance to regroup and allow recruitment of new corals.

Not much formal attention has been paid to macroalgae removal techniques in the past, but this TWQ Hub research presents a synthesis of available knowledge on the role of macroalgae in coral reef ecology, in addition to the possible risks and rewards involved in its removal from reefs.

The researchers behind the review are currently involved in a series of field experiments aimed at filling the knowledge gaps identified in the review. This research will be critical for reef managers to assess the opportunities and risks associated with macroalgae removal on the Great Barrier Reef.

Hasn’t Adam Smith from Reef Ecologic been using these results to run citizen science macroalgal removal activities at Magnetic Island? Find out and if so get a quote from him, and write an impact story.

More information about Dr McLeod’s project is available online.


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