Small-scale habitat complexity of artificial turf influences the development of associated invertebrate assemblages

  • Published source details Lavender J.T., Dafforn K.A., Bishop M.J. & Johnston E.L. (2017) Small-scale habitat complexity of artificial turf influences the development of associated invertebrate assemblages. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 492, 105-112.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

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

Action Link
Biodiversity of Marine Artificial Structures
  1. Create short flexible habitats (1–50 mm) on subtidal artificial structures

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2012–2013 on a subtidal dock in Sydney Harbour estuary, Australia (Lavender et al. 2017) found that creating short flexible habitats (polyethylene turf) on settlement plates altered the non-mobile invertebrate community composition on plates and had mixed effects on the mobile invertebrate community composition and invertebrate abundances, depending on the turf length and species group. After three months, non-mobile invertebrate community composition differed on settlement plates with longer and shorter turf, and both differed to plates without turf (data reported as statistical model results). Plates with longer turf also supported different mobile invertebrate composition to plates with shorter turf and without turf, which were similar. Non-mobile invertebrates were less abundant on plates with turf (0–7% cover) than without (4–28%) in nine of 14 comparisons, but similar in the other five comparisons (with turf: 5–25%; without: 4–28%). Mobile invertebrates were more abundant on plates with turf (2–324 individuals/plate) than without (0–50/plate) in 22 of 28 comparisons, but similar in six comparisons (with turf: 2–58/plate; without: 1–50/plate). Plastic settlement plates (100 × 100 mm) were made with and without short flexible habitats (polyethylene turf). Plates with turf had either longer (18 mm) or shorter (2–3 mm) blades (1.5 mm width). Twelve of each were randomly arranged at 3 m depth beneath a dock with turf facing downwards in October 2012. Invertebrates on plates were counted in the laboratory after three months.

    (Summarised by: Ally Evans)

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