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Individual study: How complementary are epibenthic assemblages in artificial and nearby natural rocky reefs?

Published source details

Carvalho S., Moura A., Cúrdia J., Cancela d.F.L. & Santos M.N. (2013) How complementary are epibenthic assemblages in artificial and nearby natural rocky reefs? Marine Environmental Research, 92, 170-177


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Create artificial reefs Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

A replicated, site comparison study in 2006 of two artificial and two natural reefs in the Faro/Ancão reef system, off the southern coast of Portugal, North Atlantic Ocean (Carvalho et al. 2013) found that artificial reefs developed similar invertebrate abundance and biomass, but not similar invertebrate species richness, diversity and community composition to natural reefs after 16 years. Invertebrate abundance and biomass were similar on artificial reefs (abundance: 17,111–52,933 individual/m2; biomass: 18–40 g/m2) and natural reefs (abundance: 16,400–25,644 individual/m2; biomass: 27–262 g/m2). However, species diversity (as diversity index) and richness were lower on artificial reefs (162 species) compared to natural reefs (218 species). Invertebrate community composition was different on artificial reefs compared to natural reefs (data presented as graphical analyses and statistical model results). In August 2006, two artificial reefs made of concrete created in 1990 and two natural reefs (0.5–0.9 km away from the artificial reefs) were surveyed. Three 15 x 15 cm quadrats were placed at each reef on vertical surfaces 1 m from the seabed, scraped, and organisms collected. Invertebrates (>0.5 mm) and algae were identified, counted, and dry-weighed.

(Summarised by Anaëlle Lemasson)