Create textured surfaces (≤1 mm) on intertidal artificial structures
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 4
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 intertidal rocky habitats. It provides secure anchor points for invertebrate larvae and algal germlings, helping them to resist dislodgement and escape predation or grazing (Lubchenco 1983). Settlement preferences and competitive interactions lead to some species being more abundant than others on textured surfaces (Harlin & Lindbergh 1977). 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 (Moschella et al. 2005; Sempere-Valverde et al. 2018; but see Cacabelos et al. 2016), promoting community development. Textured surfaces can be created on intertidal 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 intertidal artificial structures”.
There are bodies of literature investigating the effects of textured surfaces on recruitment and community development in intertidal rocky habitats (e.g. Dudgeon & Petraitis 2005; van Tamelin et al. 1997), laboratory-based settlement behaviour (e.g. 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 intertidal artificial structures; Create natural rocky reef topography on intertidal artificial structures; Create pit habitats (1–50 mm) on intertidal artificial structures; Create groove habitats (1–50 mm) on intertidal artificial structures; Create small protrusions (1–50 mm) on intertidal artificial structures; Create small ridges or ledges (1–50 mm) on intertidal artificial structures; Create groove habitats and small protrusions, ridges or ledges (1–50 mm) on intertidal artificial structures.
Cacabelos E., Martins G.M., Thompson R., Prestes A.C.L., Azevedo J.M.N. & Neto A.I. (2016) Material type and roughness influence structure of inter-tidal communities on coastal defences. Marine Ecology, 37, 801–812.
Dudgeon S. & Petraitis P.S. (2005) First year demography of the foundation species, Ascophyllum nodosum, and its community implications. Oikos, 109, 405–415.
Harlin M.M. & Lindbergh J.M. (1977) Selection of substrata by seaweeds: optimal surface relief. Marine Biology, 40, 33–40.
Lubchenco J. (1983) Littorina and Fucus: effects of herbivores, substratum heterogeneity, and plant escapes during succession. Ecology, 64, 1116–1123.
Moschella P.S., Abbiati M., Åberg P., Airoldi L., Anderson J.M., Bacchiocchi F., Bulleri F., Dinesen G.E., Frost M., Gacia E., Granhag L., Jonsson P.R., Satta M.P., Sundelöf A., Thompson R.C. & Hawkins S.J. (2005) Low-crested coastal defence structures as artificial habitats for marine life: using ecological criteria in design. Coastal Engineering, 52, 1053–1071.
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.
van Tamelen P.G., Stekoll M.S. & Deysher L. (1997) Recovery processes of the brown alga Fucus gardneri following the ‘Exxon Valdez’ oil spill: settlement and recruitment. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 160, 265–277.
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 2010 on two intertidal rocky reefs on open coastlines in the Celtic Sea and the English Channel, UK (Coombes et al. 2015) found that creating textured surfaces on settlement plates increased the abundance of barnacles Chthamalus spp. on plates. After six months, average barnacle abundance was higher on scrape-textured plates (226–351/plate) than spray-textured plates (124–228/plate), and higher on both than on untextured plates (59–152/plate). Concrete settlement plates (50 × 50 mm) were made with and without textured surfaces, created by scraping with a wire brush or spraying with a water jet. Ten plates with each of ‘scrape-textured’, ‘spray-textured’ and untextured surfaces were randomly arranged horizontally at midshore on each of two rocky reefs in May 2010. Barnacles on plates were counted from photographs after six months.Study and other actions tested
A replicated, paired sites, controlled study in 2008–2010 on an intertidal breakwater on open coastline in the North Sea, Netherlands (Paalvast 2015a) reported that settlement plates with textured surfaces supported similar abundances of macroalgae and invertebrates to plates without texture. Data were not statistically tested. After 28 months, there were no clear differences in macroalgal or invertebrate abundances on plates with and without textured surfaces (data not reported). Concrete settlement plates (250 × 250 mm) were made with and without textured surfaces using a mould. Plates with texture had either fine (0.5 mm) or coarse (1 mm) texture. One of each and one plate without texture were placed on each of 10 vertical surfaces on each side of a concrete-block breakwater (wave-exposed, wave-sheltered) in May 2008. One plate with fine texture and one without were also placed on each of 10 horizontal surfaces on each side of the breakwater. On the wave-exposed side, plates were at mid-highshore, while on the wave-sheltered side, plates were at low-midshore. Macroalgae and invertebrates on plates were counted during low tide over 28 months.Study and other actions tested
A replicated, paired sites, controlled study in 2009 on 14 jetty pilings in Rotterdam Port in the Rhine-Meuse estuary, Netherlands (Paalvast 2015b) reported that settlement plates with textured surfaces supported similar abundances of macroalgae and invertebrates to plates without texture. Data were not statistically tested. After nine months, there were no clear differences in macroalgal or invertebrate abundances on plates with and without textured surfaces (data not reported). Concrete settlement plates (250 × 250 mm) were made with and without textured surfaces using a mould. One plate with texture and one without were attached to vertical surfaces on each of 14 wooden pilings at lowshore in March 2009. Macroalgae and invertebrates on plates were counted during low tide over nine months.Study and other actions tested
A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2016–2017 on three intertidal seawalls in the Clyde and Forth estuaries and on open coastline in the English Channel, UK (MacArthur et al. 2019) found that creating textured surfaces on seawall surfaces, along with using environmentally-sensitive material, had mixed effects on macroalgae and invertebrate species richness and invertebrate abundances, depending on the type of texture created and the site. After 18 months, plates with and without texture supported similar macroalgae and mobile invertebrate species richness in seven of eight comparisons (textured: 1–2 species/plate; untextured: 1/plate). At one site (1 comparison), cast-textured plates supported more species (2/plate) than untextured plates (1/plate). Textured and untextured plates also supported similar mobile invertebrate abundance in five of eight comparisons (textured: 1–2 individuals/plate; untextured: 1–3/plate). At one site (3 comparisons), textured plates supported more mobile invertebrates (3–5 individuals/plate) than untextured plates (1/plate). Barnacle (Cirripedia) cover was higher on plates with texture (67–95%) than without (22–83%) in six of eight comparisons, but did not significantly differ at one site (2 comparisons; textured: 46–51%; untextured: 22%). It is not clear whether these effects were the direct result of creating texture or using environmentally-sensitive material on some plates. Settlement plates (150 × 150 mm) were made with and without textured surfaces, created by scraping with a wire brush, moulding with barnacle-shaped impressions, or casting with crushed foil. ‘Scrape-textured’, ‘mould-textured’ and untextured plates were concrete, while ‘cast-textured’ plates were limestone-cement (environmentally-sensitive material). Eight plates with each of scrape-textured, mould-textured and untextured surfaces were randomly arranged at upper-midshore on each of three vertical concrete seawalls in April–May 2016. Eight cast-textured plates were attached on each of two walls. Macroalgae and invertebrates on plates were counted from photographs over 18 months.Study and other actions tested