Create short flexible habitats (1–50 mm) on intertidal artificial structures

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study examined the effects of creating short flexible habitats on intertidal artificial structures on the biodiversity of those structures. The study was in an estuary in southeast Australia.

COMMUNITY RESPONSE (1 STUDY)

  • Overall community composition (1 study): One replicated, randomized, controlled study in Australia found that creating short flexible habitats on intertidal artificial structures altered the combined macroalgae and non-mobile invertebrate community composition on structure surfaces, and had mixed effects on the combined mobile invertebrate and fish community composition on and around structure surfaces during low tide, depending on the site.
  • Invertebrate community composition (1 study): One replicated, randomized, controlled study in Australia found that creating short flexible habitats on intertidal artificial structures did not alter the mobile invertebrate community composition on and around structure surfaces during high tide.
  • Fish community composition (1 study): One replicated, randomized, controlled study in Australia found that creating short flexible habitats on intertidal artificial structures did not alter the fish community composition on and around structure surfaces during high tide.
  • Overall richness/diversity (1 study): One replicated, randomized, controlled study in Australia found that creating short flexible habitats on intertidal artificial structures decreased the combined macroalgae, invertebrate and fish species richness on and around structure surfaces during low tide.
  • Invertebrate richness/diversity (1 study): One replicated, randomized, controlled study in Australia found that creating short flexible habitats on intertidal artificial structures had mixed effects on the mobile invertebrate species richness on and around structure surfaces during high tide, depending on the site.
  • Fish richness/diversity (1 study): One replicated, randomized, controlled study in Australia found that creating short flexible habitats on intertidal artificial structures did not increase the fish species richness on and around structure surfaces during high tide.

POPULATION RESPONSE (1 STUDY)

  • Overall abundance (1 study): One replicated, randomized, controlled study in Australia found that creating short flexible habitats on intertidal artificial structures did not increase the combined mobile invertebrate and fish abundance on and around structure surfaces during low tide.
  • Algal abundance (1 study): One replicated, randomized, controlled study in Australia found that creating short flexible habitats on intertidal artificial structures had mixed effects on the macroalgal abundance on structure surfaces, depending on the species group and site.
  • Invertebrate abundance (1 study): One replicated, randomized, controlled study in Australia found that creating short flexible habitats on intertidal artificial structures had mixed effects on the abundance of non-mobile invertebrates on structure surfaces, and of mobile invertebrates during high tide, depending on the species group and site.
  • Fish abundance (1 study): One replicated, randomized, controlled study in Australia found that creating short flexible habitats on intertidal artificial structures did not increase the fish abundance on and around structure surfaces during high tide.

BEHAVIOUR (1 STUDY)

Fish behaviour change (1 study): One replicated, randomized, controlled study in Australia found that creating short flexible habitats on intertidal artificial structures did not increase the number of bites fishes took of structure surfaces.

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, randomized, controlled study in 2016 on two intertidal seawalls in Sydney Harbour estuary, Australia (Morris et al. 2018) found that adding short flexible habitats (coir panels) to rock pools created on the seawalls had mixed effects on macroalgae, invertebrate and fish community composition, species richness and abundances, depending on the species group and site. Over eight months, during low tide, a total of 44 macroalgae, invertebrate and fish species groups were recorded in pools with coir and 57 in pools without (data not statistically tested). Average macroalgae and non-mobile invertebrate species richness was lower in pools with coir (9 species/pool) than without (12/pool) and the community composition differed (data reported as statistical model results), while abundances varied depending on the species group and site (data not reported). Mobile invertebrate and fish species richness was also lower in pools with coir (2 species/pool) than without (3/pool), but their abundance was similar (data not reported), while effects on their community composition varied by site. During high tide, a total of 13 fish species were recorded in and around pools with coir and 14 in and around pools without, while 49 mobile invertebrate species groups were recorded in each. Average fish species richness, abundance, community composition, and the number of bites they took, were all similar in and around pools with and without coir (data not reported). Mobile invertebrate species richness in pools with coir (8–11 species/pool) and without (9–16/pool) varied by site, as did their abundances (data not reported), but the community composition was similar. Short flexible habitats (coir panels: 734 cm2, 15 mm fibre length, 168 fibres/cm2) were created on the inside vertical surfaces of concrete rock pools created on two vertical sandstone seawalls in January–February 2016. Five pools with coir and five without were randomly arranged at midshore in each of two sites along each seawall. Macroalgae, invertebrates and fishes were counted in pools during low tide over eight months. Mobile invertebrates and fishes were also surveyed during two high tides using a suction pump and videos, respectively. Three pools were missing and no longer provided habitat.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Evans, A.J., Moore, P.J., Firth, L.B., Smith, R.K., and Sutherland, W.J. (2021) Enhancing the Biodiversity of Marine Artificial Structures: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions. Conservation Evidence Series Synopses. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Biodiversity of Marine Artificial Structures

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Biodiversity of Marine Artificial Structures
Biodiversity of Marine Artificial Structures

Biodiversity of Marine Artificial Structures - Published 2021

Enhancing biodiversity of marine artificial structures synopsis

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