Laboratory experiments under controlled conditions will be performed to determine the optimal spatial arrangement of gorgonian colonies for the subsequent in situ restoration, defined as the spatial distribution that maximizes their fitness (viability) as well as their capability to promote the aggregation of the benthopelagic zooplankton and fish larvae.

In gorgonians, such as in other benthic suspension feeders (organisms that capture food from the water column), the spatial arrangement of individuals in a population can have a significant impact on their efficiency in capturing food, as well as their physiological processes. This is because the spatial structure of the individuals in a population modify microcirculation and therefore the retention time of the food particles suspended in the water. Nutrition affects key physiological processes of corals and gorgonians, and a spatial arrangement that maximizes the difference between the inputs of carbon and nitrogen (food capture rates) and outputs (respiration, excretion, flows of particulate and dissolved organic matter) will result in a surplus of matter and energy available to be invested in growth and reproduction. In contrast, a negative balance between inputs and outputs as a result of a non-optimal spatial arrangement of individuals could result in a reduction in the viability of gorgonians populations.