Environmental and human factors drive the subtropical marine forests of Gongolaria abies-marina to extinction.


Large brown macroalgae are foundational threatened species in coastal ecosystems from the subtropical northeastern Atlantic, where they have exhibited a drastic decline in recent years. This study describes the potential habitat of Gongolaria abies-marina, its current distribution and conservation status, and the major drivers of population decline. The results show a strong reduction of more than 97% of G. abies-marina populations in the last thirty years and highlight the effects of drivers vary in terms of spatial heterogeneity. A decrease in the frequency of high waves and high human footprint are the principal factors accounting for the long-term decline in G. abies-marina populations. UV radiation and sea surface temperature have an important correlation only in certain locations. Both the methodology and the large amount of data analyzed in this study provide a valuable tool for the conservation and restoration of threatened macroalgae.

Marine Environmental Research
Blas M. Benito
Blas M. Benito
Data Scientist and Team Lead