Exploring strategies for facilitating and improving success and resilience in seagrass restoration

[Cod. TED2021-131950B-I00 SEAGRASSREST]

In the context of global change, and subsequent degradation and loss of marine ecosystems, facilitating recovery of habitats is a major challenge after mitigating human-mediated pressures. Across the globe, seagrasses are critical foundation species on nearshore waters, and given their important contributions to fisheries, coastal protection, water quality and climate change mitigation, their conservation and restoration has been recognized as a global priority, particularly considering their global declines. Unfortunately, not only are seagrass restoration efforts still largely unsuccessful, but with the threat of climate change, new calls are emerging to use restoration to provide resilience to future stressors. This project will examine underlying mechanisms and develop novel methodologies for improving seagrass restoration and for enhancing the resilience of restored populations to climate change factors. In particular, SEAGRASSREST will examine different approaches (microbiome and priming) to improve restoration outcomes and enhance ecosystem resilience to global warming by focusing on early life stages (i.e. seeds and seedlings), as they are a critical unit used in restoration efforts.