Gardeners of the sea

A day of concrete restoration actions in Miramare

In #Miramare, spring is a time for gardening and new plantings not only in the Castle’s Botanical Park: today is a great day for the “sea gardeners” of the ROCPopLife project, who are about to transplant the “seedlings” (juveniles) of Cystoseira algae cultivated in the laboratories of the University of Trieste into the Reserve and begin the reforestation of the seabed in #Miramare.
The “baby algae” are anchored to the surface of those strange orange discs you see in the pictures: just like the seedlings we plant in terracotta pots, the Cystoseira seedlings were inserted by the researchers on special clay supports… see those tiny green dots on the discs? That’s them!

The researchers-gardeners of ROCPopLife have arrived in #Grignano with their precious “load”: about 250 terracotta plates with the “baby-Cystoseira” ready to be soaked.
A few hours of work are needed to fix the discs inside the lanternets: these are the blue “trays” you see in the pictures, which will be placed in mid-water and in which the small #algae will be able to grow over the next few weeks without running the risk of being eaten by the many herbivores (the so-called “grazers”), especially salps and sea urchins, which populate the Marine Protected Area.
Soon, thanks to the researchers of the University of Trieste and WWF Italy AMP Miramare, all the lanternets will be ready and it will be the divers’ turn to go into action!

And here it is, the #Miramare nursery!
The lanternets with the #Cystoseira seedlings have been placed by the MPA divers in the stretch of water in front of the Doge’s Bath, 2 metres from the surface, stabilised in the water column by a float and a dead body positioned on the seabed.
Over the next few days, our researchers will monitor the growth of this special underwater “garden” and in a fortnight’ time, depending on the health and growth of the seedlings, it will be decided whether to move on to the second phase: the positioning of the plates with the baby algae on the Miramare seabed, covered by large cages to protect them from herbivores.

Best wishes to the little #algae: grow up healthy and flourishing!