Patterns of colonization and succession of benthic assemblages in two artificial substrates

  • Published source details Spagnolo A., Cuicchi C., Punzo E., Santelli A., Scarcella G. & Fabi G. (2014) Patterns of colonization and succession of benthic assemblages in two artificial substrates. Journal of Sea Research, 88, 78-86.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Create artificial reefs of different 3-D structure and material used

Action Link
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
  1. Create artificial reefs of different 3-D structure and material used

    A controlled study in 2005–2008 of an artificial reef complex made of pyramids and plinth-poles created on soft seabed 3 nm off the coast of Italy, Mediterranean Sea (Spagnolo et al. 2014) found that during the three years following creation, “sea-friendly” concrete pyramids developed a significantly different invertebrate community composition compared to traditional concrete plinth-pole structures. Invertebrate community composition remained dissimilar between the two structure types over the three years (year 1: 40% similarity; year 2: 73%; year 3: 68%). For the first two years, pyramids had lower invertebrate species richness (average 10 species) and abundance (average 2 individuals/dm2) compared to plinth-pole structures (richness: 27; abundance: 48). After three years, pyramids had similar species richness (27) and higher abundance (85) compared to plinth-pole structures (richness: 24; abundance: 33). Diversity (reported as a diversity index) was lower on pyramids after a year compared to plinth-pole structures, higher after two, and not different after three. In 2005, the Pedaso artificial reef, made of 76 pyramids of “sea-friendly” concrete slabs surrounded by 214 plinth-pole structures made of traditional concrete (aimed at preventing illegal trawling), was created at 15 m depth (see paper for details on reef architecture). Invertebrates colonizing the reef were surveyed in summer in 2006, 2007 and 2008 (three surveys/year). During each survey, divers scraped a 40 × 40 cm area on the external vertical sides of three randomly-chosen structures for each reef type, and invertebrates (>0.5 mm) were identified, counted and weighed.

    (Summarised by: Anaëlle Lemasson)

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