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  • Kelps are in global decline due to climate change, including ocean warming. To identify vulnerable species, we need to identify their tolerances to increasing temperatures and whether tolerances are altered by co-occurring drivers such as inorganic nutrient levels. This is particularly important for those with restricted distributions, which may already be experiencing thermal stress. To identify thermal tolerance of the range restricted kelp Lessonia corrugata, we conducted a laboratory experiment on juvenile sporophytes to measure performance (growth, photosynthesis) across its thermal range (4 – 22 °C). We found the upper thermal limit for growth and photosynthesis to be ~ 22 – 23 °C, with an optimum of ~ 16 °C. To determine if elevated inorganic nitrogen availability could enhance thermal tolerance, we compared performance of juveniles under low (4.5 µmol/day) and high (90 µmol/day) nitrate conditions at and above the thermal optimum (16 – 23.5 °C). Nitrate enrichment did not enhance thermal performance at temperatures above the optimum but did lead to elevated growth rates at the thermal optimum 16 °C. Our findings indicate L. corrugata is likely to be extremely susceptible to moderate ocean warming and marine heatwaves. Peak sea surface temperatures during summer in eastern and northeastern Tasmania can reach up to 20 – 21 °C and climate projections suggest that L. corrugata’s thermal limit will be regularly exceeded by 2050 as south-eastern Australia is a global ocean-warming hotspot. By identifying the upper thermal limit of L. corrugata we have taken a critical step in predicting the future of the species in a warming climate.

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    An aerial survey was conducted for giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) on the east coast of Tasmania from Eddystone Point to Southeast Cape. This survey represents part of a series of similar surveys, with historic aerial surveys having been conducted in 1986 and 1999. The survey was conducted via light aircraft. Areas of visable Macrocystis pyrifera beds were marked on topographical land tenure maps using landmarks as references, and complimentary photo footage was collected.

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    This record describes an aggregated data product compiled from a number of different surveys of Macrocystis surface cover in Tasmanian waters, spanning 1950 to 2019. Some surveys represent a statewide census of Macrocystis cover, while others are targeted surveys of smaller regions. Methodology and data quality lso varies between surveys. Please see linked metadata records for specific methodologies and quality statements applying to individual surveys.

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    An aerial survey of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera), was carried out on the east coast of Tasmania from Musselroe Bay to Southeast Cape. This survey represents part of a series of similar surveys, with historic aerial surveys having been conducted in 1986, 1999 and 2009. This survey was conducted via light aircraft in Nov-Dec 2019, and recorded areas of visible surface canopy cover of giant kelp. Canopy areas were scribed in-flight onto 1:50,000 topographic maps (TASMAP 2017), and complimentary photo and video footage was collected. Canopy areas were digitised with reference to photo, video and map data within QGIS 3.4, and boundaries were checked against Seamap Australia seafloor habitats (Lucieer et al. 2017) and bathymetric data (Smith 2016). Each bed was attributed a broad and fine scale location, density and reliability estimate (see attached report for details). This survey was completed with funding from Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Tassal and IMAS, and equal in-kind support by Marine Solutions and Seacare Inc.

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    Data accompanying Layton et al. 2019, Resilience and stability of kelp forests: the importance of patch dynamics and environment-engineer feedbacks. PLOS ONE. To explore how resilience and stability of kelp habitats is influenced by this habitat degradation, we created an array of patch reefs of various sizes and supporting adult Ecklonia radiata kelp transplanted at different densities. This enabled testing of how sub-canopy abiotic conditions change with reductions in patch size and adult kelp density, and how this influenced demographic processes of microscopic and macroscopic juvenile kelp.

  • -- Layton et al. Chemical microenvironments within macroalgal assemblages: implications for the inhibition of kelp recruitment by turf algae. Limnology & Oceanography. DOI:10.1002/lno.11138 -- Kelp forests around the world are under increasing pressure from anthropogenic stressors. A widespread consequence is that in many places, complex and highly productive kelp habitats have been replaced by structurally simple and less productive turf algae habitats. Turf algae habitats resist re-establishment of kelp via recruitment inhibition; however little is known about the specific mechanisms involved. One potential factor is the chemical environment within the turf algae and into which kelp propagules settle and develop. Using laboratory trials, we illustrate that the chemical microenvironment (O2 concentration and pH) 0.0–50 mm above the benthos within four multispecies macroalgal assemblages (including a turf-sediment assemblage and an Ecklonia radiata kelp-dominated assemblage) are characterised by elevated O2 and pH relative to the surrounding seawater. Notably however, O2 and pH were significantly higher within turf-sediment assemblages than in kelp-dominated assemblages, and at levels that have previously been demonstrated to impair the photosynthetic or physiological capacity of kelp propagules. Field observations of the experimental assemblages confirmed that recruitment of kelp was significantly lower into treatments with dense turf algae than in the kelp-dominated assemblages. We demonstrate differences between the chemical microenvironments of kelp and turf algae assemblages that correlate with differences in kelp recruitment, highlighting how degradation of kelp habitats might result in the persistence of turf algae habitats and the localised absence of kelp.

  • NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub Project E7. Results from the outplanting of lab-selected and cultivated warm-adapted genotypes of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera), at two trial restoration sites. A third restoration trial site had no surviving kelp, so those data were not included here. Data and details from lab-selection experiments can be found in the associated dataset - "NESP Marine Hub Project E7 - Macrocystis pyrifera thermal tolerance testing"

  • A research program jointly conducted by Alginates (Australia) P/L and C.S.I.R.O. Division of Fisheries and Oceanography was set up to investigate the relationship between kelp: Macrocystis pyrifera (Linnaeus) C. Agardh 1820 and crayfish larvae. Alginates (Australia) P/L, based at Louisville in the Mercury Passage, were harvesting kelp at this time. This study was initiated to address concerns regarding the effect of harvesting on crayfish stocks. The survey results are taken from an unpublished interim report presenting the results of the work at that stage (1965). Apparently an aerial survey was used to determine stock distributions although this is not specified in the report.

  • A survey was conducted for Macrocystis pyrifera (Linnaeus) C. Agardh 1820 from Eddystone Point to South East Cape The survey was conducted from light aeroplane. Areas of Macrocystis pyrifera beds were marked on 1:100,000 topographical land tenure maps using landmarks as references. A Trimble GPS unit was used to track position in the aeroplane. As boundaries of the beds were flown over, these were marked on the GPS. When plotted up, these information assisted in determining Macrocystis bed boundaries where these were not close to the coast.

  • As a condition of licence for harvesting Macrocystis pyrifera (Linnaeus) C. Agardh 1820, Alginates (Australia) P/L lodged harvest returns to the Tasmanian Lands Department. The harvest returns consisted of what tonnage was harvested from where, when and the length of trip. While Alginates (Australia) P/L harvested from 1964-1973, harvest data for individual sites is only available for the years 1970-71. Here the data is summed for individual sites for the two years 1970-71.