Create textured surfaces (≤1 mm) on subtidal artificial structures
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 3
Background information and definitions
Definition: ‘Texture’ is micro-scale roughness applied to an entire surface that produces depressions and/or elevations ≤1 mm (Strain et al. 2018).
Texture influences the settlement and survival of marine organisms in subtidal rocky habitats. It provides secure anchor points for invertebrate larvae and algal germlings, helping them to resist dislodgement and escape predation or grazing (Carl et al. 2012). Settlement preferences and competitive interactions lead to some species being more abundant than others on textured surfaces (Bourget et al. 1994). These patterns vary by species, environmental conditions and the match or mismatch between the size and shape of the texture and organisms (Wahl & Hoppe 2002).
Most substrates have some form of texture, but marine artificial structures often have smoother surface texture than natural rocky substrates (Sedano et al. 2020). Structures with rougher texture tend to be more-readily colonized by invertebrates and algae (Miller & Barimo 2001; Sempere-Valverde et al. 2018; but see Bourget et al. 1994), promoting community development. Textured surfaces can be created on subtidal artificial structures by moulding or treating surfaces during construction or retrospectively. Texture can also be altered indirectly through material choice. Studies that examine the effects of using alternative materials with incidentally-different textures are not considered here, but are included under the action “Use environmentally-sensitive material on subtidal artificial structures”.
There are bodies of literature investigating field and laboratory-based settlement behaviour on textured surfaces (e.g. Maldonado & Uriz 1998; Neo et al. 2009) and also the use of micro-texture for anti-fouling applications (reviewed by Scardino & de Nys 2011). These studies are not included in this synopsis, which focusses on in situ conservation actions to promote colonization of biodiversity on marine artificial structures.
See also: Use environmentally-sensitive material on subtidal artificial structures; Create natural rocky reef topography on subtidal artificial structures; Create pit habitats (1–50 mm) on subtidal artificial structures; Create groove habitats (1–50 mm) on subtidal artificial structures; Create small protrusions (1–50 mm) on subtidal artificial structures; Create small ridges or ledges (1–50 mm) on subtidal artificial structures; Create groove habitats and small protrusions, ridges or ledges (1–50 mm) on subtidal artificial structures.
Bourget E., DeGuise J. & Daigle G. (1994) Scales of substratum heterogeneity, structural complexity, and the early establishment of a marine epibenthic community. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 181, 31–51.
Carl C., Poole A.J., Sexton B.A., Glenn F.L., Vucko M.J., Williams M.R., Whalan S. & de Nys R. (2012) Enhancing the settlement and attachment strength of pediveligers of Mytilus galloprovincialis by changing surface wettability and microtopography. Biofouling: The Journal of Bioadhesion and Biofilm Research, 28, 175–186.
Maldonado M. & Uriz M.J. (1998) Microrefuge exploitation by subtidal encrusting sponges: patterns of settlement and post-settlement survival. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 174, 141–150.
Miller M.W. & Barimo J. (2001) Assessment of juvenile coral populations at two reef restoration sites in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary: indicators of success? Bulletin of Marine Science, 69, 395–405.
Neo M.L., Todd P.A., Teo S.L.-M. & Chou L.M. (2009) Can artificial substrates enriched with crustose coralline algae enhance larval settlement and recruitment in the fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa)? Hydrobiologia, 625, 83–90.
Scardino A.J. & de Nys R. (2011) Mini review: biomimetic models and bioinspired surfaces for fouling control. Biofouling: The Journal of Bioadhesion and Biofilm Research, 27, 73–86.
Sedano F., Navarro-Barranco C., Guerra-García J.M. & Espinosa F. (2020) Understanding the effects of coastal defence structures on marine biota: the role of substrate composition and roughness in structuring sessile, macro- and meiofaunal communities. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 157, 111334.
Sempere-Valverde J., Ostalé-Valriberas E., Farfán G.M. & Espinosa F. (2018) Substratum type affects recruitment and development of marine assemblages over artificial substrata: a case study in the Alboran Sea. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 204, 56–65.
Strain E.M.A., Olabarria C., Mayer-Pinto M., Cumbo V., Morris R.L., Bugnot A.B., Dafforn K.A., Heery E., Firth L.B., Brooks P.R. & Bishop M.J. (2018) Eco-engineering urban infrastructure for marine and coastal biodiversity: which interventions have the greatest ecological benefit? Journal of Applied Ecology, 55, 426–441.
Wahl M. & Hoppe K. (2002) Interactions between substratum rugosity, colonization density and periwinkle grazing efficiency. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 225, 239–249.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2005 on three subtidal rocky reefs on open coastlines in the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea, Italy (Guarnieri et al. 2009) found that settlement plates with and without textured surfaces supported similar macroalgae and non-mobile invertebrate species richness, live cover and community composition, while abundances varied depending on the species group and site. After nine months, there was no clear difference in the macroalgae and non-mobile invertebrate community composition, species richness or live cover on plates with and without textured surfaces (data reported as statistical model results). Non-mobile invertebrates were more abundant on plates with texture (<1–6% cover) than without (<1–2%) but the difference was only significant at one of six sites. Macroalgal abundances varied by species group and site (see paper for results). Limestone, sandstone, granite and concrete settlement plates (150 × 100 mm) were made with and without textured surfaces. Five of each material-texture combination were randomly arranged, horizontally at 5 m depth in each of two sites on each of three limestone rocky reefs in February 2005. Macroalgae and non-mobile invertebrates on plates were counted in the laboratory over nine months.Study and other actions tested
A replicated, randomized, controlled study (year not reported) on open coastlines in the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, Israel (Perkol-Finkel & Sella 2014) found that upward-facing settlement plates with textured surfaces supported similar macroalgae and non-mobile invertebrate abundance but different community composition to downward-facing surfaces without texture. After 12 months, macroalgae and non-mobile invertebrate live cover was similar on upward-facing settlement plate surfaces with texture (81–100%) and downward-facing surfaces without (80–100%), but the community composition differed (data reported as statistical model results). Concrete settlement plates (150 × 150 mm) were moulded with textured surfaces on one side and flat on the other, using a formliner. Plates were either standard-concrete or one of five patented ECOncreteTM materials. Ten of each material were randomly arranged horizontally with textured surfaces facing upwards on frames at 6 m depth in the Mediterranean Sea and at 10 m in the Gulf of Aqaba (month/year not reported). Macroalgae and non-mobile invertebrates on plates were counted and biomass (dry weight) was recorded in the laboratory over 12 months.Study and other actions tested
Referenced paperPerkol-Finkel S. & Sella I. (2014) Ecologically-active concrete for coastal and marine infrastructure: innovative matrices and designs. Pages 1139-1149 in: W. Allsop & K. Burgess (eds.) From Sea to Shore – Meeting the Challenges of the Sea: (Coasts, Marine Structures and Breakwaters 2013). ICE Publishing, London.
A replicated, controlled study in 2013–2014 on 24 jetty pilings in the Hudson River estuary, USA (Perkol-Finkel & Sella 2016) found that creating textured surfaces on the pilings, along with using environmentally-sensitive material, increased the macroalgae and invertebrate species richness, cover and biomass and altered the community composition on piling surfaces. After 14 months, pilings with textured surfaces and environmentally-sensitive material supported 18 macroalgae and invertebrate species with 90–100% cover, while fibreglass pilings without texture supported nine species with 40–85% cover (data not statistically tested). Biomass was higher on pilings with textured surfaces (0.07 g/cm2) than without (0.02 g/cm2) and the community composition differed (data reported as statistical model results). Over 14 months, six species (4 non-mobile invertebrates, 2 mobile invertebrates) recorded on pilings with texture were absent from those without. It is not clear whether these effects were the direct result of creating textured surfaces or using environmentally-sensitive material. Textured surfaces were created on concrete jetty piling encasements using a formliner during maintenance works. Nine textured encasements made from patented ECOncreteTM material and three untextured fibreglass encasements were attached around pilings in each of two sites along a jetty in June 2013 (depth not reported). Macroalgae and invertebrates were counted on and around pilings and biomass was measured (dry weight) in the laboratory over 14 months.Study and other actions tested