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Eelgrass meadow.
Photo: Göteborgs universitet
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ZORRO - Interdisciplinary research about management and restoration of eelgrass in Sweden

Research group
Active research
Project period
2011 - ongoing
Project owner
Department of Marine Sciences

Short description

Zorro is an interdisciplinary research program started in 2011 at the University of Gothenburg. It has the goal to improve the management of coastal ecosystems with focus on eelgrass meadows along the Swedish west coast.

The program constitutes the base for research collaboration between marine ecologist, environmental legal scholars, and environmental economists about management and restoration of eelgrass ecosystems, and is carried out in close collaboration with the Country Administrative Board of Västra Götaland, and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water management.

Today, more than 20 Swedish and international researchers and national and regional managers are collaborating in several different research projects.

Research focus within Zorro

  • Ecological causes of eelgrass loss and lack of recovery in NW Sweden
  • Legal causes and ecological consequences for eelgrass of small-scale coastal exploitation in NW Sweden.
  • Economic valuation of eelgrass ecosystem services in NW Sweden.
  • Deficiencies in the Swedish legal management system of eelgrass and other coastal ecosystems and how it could be improved.
  • Developing methods and policies for compensatory mitigation to avoid net-losses of eelgrass affected by exploitation
  • Developing cost-effective methods and guidelines for large-scale restoration of eelgrass in Sweden

Research results

The research has resulted in both scientific publications as well as reports, guidelines and suggestion of policies for management and restoration of eelgrass in Sweden.

Video (1:27)
Handbook for eelgrass restoration

Partners

  • Ingemar Andersson, Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management
  • Dr. Ingela Isaksson and Dr. Fredrik Larson, Country Administrative Board of Västra Götaland
  • Dr. Johan Eklöf, Stockholms University
  • Prof. Marianne Holmer, University of Southern Denmark
  • Prof. Erik Kristensen, NOVAGRASS, University of Southern Denmark
  • Dr. Berit Hasler och Dr. Janne Helin, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Prof. Jeanine Olsen, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
  • Dr. Marieke van Katwijk and Dr. Tjisse van der Heide, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • Prof. Tjeerd Bouma, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), The Netherlands
  • Dr. Christoffer Boström and Emilia Röhr, Åbo Akademi University, Finland

Completed research projects

No-net-loss and restoration of marine habitats: Legal and ecological constraints and solutions (2012-2017)

Goals: (1) identify the legal and biological causes to the present loss of eelgrass and lack of recovery of eelgrass in Sweden, (2) assess the legal and ecological constraints and possibilities of compensatory mitigation, (3) develop cost-effective methods for restoration of eelgrass ecosystems in Sweden, and (4) develop an alternative preventive and reparative legislation that is based on non-degradation and restoration.
Project group: Lena Gipperth and Per Moksnes (PIs), Scott Cole, Eduardo Infantes, Kristjan Laas, Louise Eriander (University of Gothenburg)
Funding: Swedish Research Council FORMAS, University of Gothenburg

Developing management and restoration of eelgrass ecosystems (2014-2017)

Goals: (1) assess processes that prevent recovery and restoration of eelgrass, (2) develop oceanographic and economic model tools for eelgrass management, and (3) produce detailed handbooks and instructions videos about eelgrass restoration in Sweden.
Project group: Per Moksnes (PI), Lena Gipperth, Eduardo infantes, Scott Cole, Kristjan Lass, Louise Eriander and Per Jonsson (University of Gothenburg) and Jonas Stenström (UntamedScience).
Funding: Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management

Integrating seascape ecology and ecosystem services of eelgrass meadows for marine spatial management (2016-2018)

Goals: (1) assess connectivity between past and present eelgrass meadows using oceanographic particle models and population genetic methods to assess genetic diversity and identify vulnerable and valuable eelgrass areas, (2) assess historical changes of key ecosystem functions and services provided by eelgrass ecosystems, and estimate area-specific economic values using model results of cost of nutrient reduction measures, (3) develop a new model-approach that integrates the connectivity of eelgrass communities with area-specific values of the ecosystem services to identify the eelgrass beds that promote the largest and most resilient metacommunities, and the highest benefits to society.
Project group: Per Jonsson and Per Moksnes (PIs), Lars-Ove Loo and Marlene Jahnke (Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg), Jeanine Olsen (Department of marine benthic ecology & evolution, University of Groningen, The Netherlands), Berit Hasler och Janne Helin (Department of environmental science, Aarhus University, Denmark)
Funding: Swedish Research Council FORMAS

Towards science-based coastal management: Tipping points for seagrass conservation and restoration. (2015-2019)

Goals: (1) assess how much vegetation can be lost before an eelgrass system collapse, and how much should be re-vegetated to improve the water quality for seagrass recovery, using empirical flume and field studies in combination with biophysical models, (2) develop a management tools to predict critical thresholds required for seagrass conservation and restoration.
Project group: Eduardo Infantes (PI) and Per Moksnes (Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg), Marieke van Katwijk och Tjisse van der Heide (Radboud University Nijmegen), Tjeerd Bouma (NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research), The Netherlands.
Funding: Swedish Research Council FORMAS

Long-term carbon and nitrogen storage in Swedish eelgrass sediments (2015-2017)

Goals: assess the capacity of long-term carbon and nitrogen storage in the sediment of eelgrass meadows along the Swedish west coast, and the fate of the organic rich sediment when an eelgrass meadow is lost.
Project group: Per Moksnes (PI), Eduardo Infantes, Louise Eriander (Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg), Christoffer Boström and Emilia Röhr (Åbo Akademi University, Finland), Marianne Holmer, University of Southern Denmark, Johan Eklöf (Stockholm University)