Repurpose obsolete offshore structures to act as artificial reefs

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

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study examined the effects of repurposing obsolete offshore structures on subtidal benthic invertebrates. The study was of a sunken oil rig in the Mediterranean Sea (Italy).



  • Overall species richness/diversity (1 study): One study in the Mediterranean Sea recorded at least 53 invertebrate species having colonised a sunken oil rig after 30 years. Species included 14 species of molluscs, 14 species of worms, and 11 species of crustaceans.


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 study in 1994 in the northern Mediterranean Sea, Italy (Ponti et al. 2002) found that a drilling platform that had been left in place to act as an artificial reef after sinking was colonised by at least 53 invertebrate species. Species included 14 species of molluscs, 14 species of worms, and 11 species of crustaceans. Most recorded species were associated with the hard habitat created by mussels and oysters. The drilling platform sank in 1965 due to a fire. The area surrounding it was then declared a marine protected area prohibiting all fishing. Samples were collected in summer 1994 between 10 and 34 m depths using two methods. Divers manually scraped off three 20 x 20 cm areas from each of four sites (two orientations within two water depths). Invertebrates (>0.5 mm) were identified and counted. Divers also took photographs along five vertical transects. Percentage cover of organisms were estimated from the photographs.

    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

All the journals searched for all synopses

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

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