Translocate species - Translocate worms

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study examined the effects of translocating worm species on their wild populations. The study was in Scottish Lochs (UK).




  • Worm survival (1 study): One replicated, controlled study in Scottish Lochs found that no reef-forming red tube worm survived when translocated to a new Loch, but survival was high when worms were translocated back to its source Loch.
  • Worm condition (1 study): One replicated, controlled study in Scottish Lochs found that no reef-forming red tube worm survived and so no growth was recorded when translocated to a new loch, worms translocated back to its source Loch grew.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated, controlled study in 2004–2005 of four soft seabed sites in two sea lochs in west Scotland, UK (Hughes et al. 2008) found that a year after translocation, survivorship and growth of the reef-forming red tube worm Serpula vermicularis were different when translocated to a new Loch or back to the source Loch. In Loch Sween (new Loch), translocated tubes gradually disappeared and only remnants remained after one year. No mortality and growth data were recorded for Loch Sween. In Loch Creran (the source Loch) 76% of tubes were recovered after one year. Mortality averaged 5.3% and tube growth averaged 32–33 mm/year at Loch Creran. In June and July 2004, clusters of tubes containing living individuals of the red tube worm were manually collected by divers from one site in Loch Creran. Seven to ten days later, 10 clusters (10 tubes with living worm/cluster) were translocated at 1 m intervals to each of four sites: two in Loch Sween where wild populations died out (3–4 m depth) and two back in Loch Creran (9–10 m depth). For a year, clusters were monitored at intervals, and the remaining clusters recovered in July 2005. For each tube, the presence of living worm was recorded, and its growth measured.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Lemasson, A.J., Pettit, L.R., Smith, R.K. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation. Pages 635-732 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation - Published 2020

What Works 2021 cover

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