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Tasmanian kelp featured in world first conservation book

Remnant giant kelp in TAS Credit Cayne Layton 1 650x450

(Image Supplied: Dr Cayne Layton)

Giant kelp projects that are growing off of Tasmania's coasts have helped launch a world-first kelp restoration guidebook.

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) marine ecologist Dr Cayne Layton is one of the lead authors of The Kelp Restoration Guidebook.

Over the last few years, Dr Layton's research has focused on restoring our once flourishing giant kelp forests.

Coverage of the giant kelp canopies has declined by around 95% since the 1950s, with experts blaming ocean warming, a changing climate and oceanography in Tasmania.

IMAS experts have since identified individual giant kelp from remnant patches in Tasmania that are naturally more tolerant of warmer waters.

Dr Layton reveals that the ‘super kelp’ is now being used as the foundation for replanting efforts.

“While it’s still quite early days for our research, we have planted kelp at Fortescue Bay and Trumpeter Bay that have reached over 10 metres tall in just 18 months, and are also reproductively mature."

Dr Layton said the Kelp Restoration Guidebook will be an important starting point for practitioners, researchers, managers and custodians to learn about the vital steps involved in kelp restoration and to access an active community of practice.

The guidebook also includes a case study by IMAS researchers, Dr John Keane and Dr Scott Ling, that provides insights into managing the problematic long-spined sea urchin Centrostephanus rodgersii in Tasmania.