Kelp beds as coastal protection: wave attenuation of Ecklonia radiata in a shallow coastal bay

Morris, Rebecca L., Graham, Tristan D. J., Kelvin, Jaya, Ghisalberti, Marco and Swearer, Stephen E. 2019, Kelp beds as coastal protection: wave attenuation of Ecklonia radiata in a shallow coastal bay, Annals of botany, pp. 1-46, doi: 10.1093/aob/mcz127.

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Title Kelp beds as coastal protection: wave attenuation of Ecklonia radiata in a shallow coastal bay
Author(s) Morris, Rebecca L.
Graham, Tristan D. J.
Kelvin, Jaya
Ghisalberti, Marco
Swearer, Stephen E.
Journal name Annals of botany
Start page 1
End page 46
Total pages 46
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford, Eng.
Publication date 2019
ISSN 0305-7364
Keyword(s) Ecklonia radiate
coastal management
living shorelines
nature-based coastal defence
wave damping
Summary Background and AimsCoastal protection from erosion and flooding is a significant ecosystem service provided by vegetated marine systems. Kelp beds are a dominant habitat-forming species on temperate reefs worldwide. While they are valued as hotspots of biodiversity, there is a paucity of information that supports their use in nature-based coastal defence. This includes the effectiveness of kelp beds in attenuating waves approaching the shore and how this influences sediment transport.MethodsWave loggers were deployed at paired kelp bed and control (urchin barren) treatments at four sites in Port Phillip Bay, Australia. The significant wave height offshore (exposed side) to onshore (sheltered side) of the treatment were compared to determine wave attenuation.Key ResultsAt three sites, the wave attenuation of kelp beds was significantly less than the control. This result was consistent across the environmental conditions recorded in this study. At the fourth site, on average there was no significant difference in wave transmission between kelp and control. However, wave attenuation at kelp beds was 10% greater than the control during periods of northerly winds. We highlight the importance of disentangling the effects of the reef substratum and kelp when evaluating the efficacy of kelp at providing coastal protection.ConclusionsWe have highlighted a significant gap in the research on ecosystem services provided by kelp beds. A greater understanding is needed on which kelp species are able to provide coastal protection, and under what conditions. Such future research is essential for providing managers and policy makers with actionable information on sustainable and cost-effective solutions for coastal defence when faced with a changing climate.
Notes Accepted Manuscript
Language eng
DOI 10.1093/aob/mcz127
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 0607 Plant Biology
0602 Ecology
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2019, The Author(s)
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