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Monitoring Biodiversity Returns of Kelp Restoration Using Environmental DNA (E-DNA). Report of Phase 1

Kelp restoration is a major pillar of Ocean Wise’s Seaforestation Initiative. Ocean Wise and Canadian Kelp Resources (CKR), and Rendezvous Dive Adventures worked together to establish a kelp restoration demonstration site in Rainy Bay, Barkley Sound. Specifically, CKR produced and out-planted green gravel for three species of kelp in Rainy Bay, during the latter half of 2021. Study species include: giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera), bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) and sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima). The success of this experiment will be assessed during 2022 and 2023 with a focus on understand the biodiversity benefits of kelp restoration. We used eDNA in a pilot for this purpose in Barkley Sound, Vancouver Island, Canada. We assess here the effectiveness and efficiency of this method, in comparison with diving transects to identify species composition.

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