Project: Marine Forests of animals, plants and algae: nature-based tools to protect and restore biodiversity

Acronym RESTORESEAS (Reference Number: BiodivRestore-253)
Duration 01/04/2022
Project Topic RESTORESEAS integrates ongoing long-term research lines of leading experts across Europe and beyond in an unprecedented joint multidisciplinary approach for marine conservation. Marine forests of macroalgae, seagrasses and cold water corals are the focus - taxa upon which biodiversity-rich ecosystems depend, that provide essential services for humanity, the loss of which is a catastrophic tipping point of lost nursery, shelter, feeding grounds, food security and other ecosystem functions as carbon sequestration, for which seagrasses are one of the most efficient ecosystems on Earth. RESTORESEAS is a holistic integration of climate-adaptation in conservation and restoration, at functional scales from gene expression to cross-ocean distributions and long-term baseline shifts including past eDNA imprinted in marine sediments. It develops approaches for conservation and restoration integrating previously overlooked roles of microbes and pathogens. Biodiversity predictions over space and time, compared with past and future climate proxies, will reveal climate-threatened marine forests of the Atlantic Ocean, as regions where restoration plans require climate-adapted strategies. Biodiversity tendencies over time includes estimates using complementary approaches - models trained with global data and eDNA estimates of past and current baselines in biodiversity including estimates from eDNA of ancient sediments of natural and disturbed sites. These are integrated with local empirical restoration test of critical sizes for ecosystem stability (assessed as long-term persistence and biodiversity support indicators) and conditions and thresholds for tipping points. For continuous monitoring of outcomes of long-term effectiveness and efficiency of restoration and conservation, RESTORESEAS will develop ecosystem function indicators based on descriptors of total biodiversity using eDNA of the water, and long-term biodiversity tendencies and carbon sequestration using eDNA of relevant sediments. RESTORESEAS will be proof of concept of the use of genetic and functional diversity in restoration of degraded habitats, including functional genetic diversity (best adapted genotypes), and diversity and role of symbionts and pathogens. The societal outcomes build on expanding the already ongoing successful examples practices of local integration of citizens (fishermen and teachers) in restoration, building education, trust, empowerment and especially ensuring that the willingness to improve these habitats will continue in civil society in the long-term after the project ends. At the policy level, we will continue our work with local and global institutional contacts and involvements and with the support of BiodivERsA in policy communication towards the EU and the UN strategies. RESTORESEAS will spread by going beyond theory in demonstrating results that serve as role models, and offering ways to use our support for replication of the same initiatives globally.
Network BiodivRestore
Call BiodivRestore Transnational Cofund Call 2020-2021

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Centre of Marine Sciences Coordinator Portugal
2 Ghent University Partner Belgium
3 Norwegian Research Centre Partner Norway
4 University of Gothenburg Partner Sweden
5 Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina Partner Brazil
6 Chouaib Doukkali University Partner Morocco
7 Mendel University in Brno Partner Czech Republic
8 Natural History Museum of Vienna Partner Austria
9 Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Partner Spain
10 University of Azores Partner Portugal
11 Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung Partner Germany
12 University of Amsterdam Partner Netherlands
13 Federal University of Espírito Santo Partner Brazil