Epifaunal colonization of the Loch Linnhe Artificial Reef: Influence of substratum on epifaunal assemblage structure

Craig J Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A one-year study was carried out off the west coast of Scotland to compare the epifaunal colonization of concrete material used in the construction of the Loch Linnhe artificial reef with that on four other types of artificial substrata ( preservative treated wood, rubber, steel and PVC). Settlement panels made from each of the materials were submerged in a vertical orientation during four seasonal exposure periods. There were clear seasonal trends across the four exposure periods with higher epifaunal biodiversity on all types of panel in the spring and summer exposure periods. Epifaunal assemblage structure was significantly different between the five types of material after each three-month exposure period. Concrete, preservative treated wood and PVC tended to have the highest species diversities. A successional study was also carried out. Over a 12-month exposure period epifaunal biodiversity increased on all five materials. After 12 months of exposure, the epifaunal assemblage structure was still significantly different between materials but had become more similar indicating a successional change towards a stable assemblage on all panels. The results indicate that material type and season have a significant effect on epifaunal assemblage structure after short ( three-month) periods of submersion but that these effects are reduced with increasing length of exposure. The study concludes that the choice of construction material for an artificial reef will have little effect on the long-term epifaunal community structure, as long as the material is physically stable, non-toxic and offers a high degree of habitat complexity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-85
Number of pages13
JournalBiofouling
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Keywords

  • ORIENTATION
  • SUBTIDAL EPIBIOTA
  • SESSILE MARINE-INVERTEBRATES
  • SURFACES
  • Biotechnology & Applied Microbiology
  • HETEROGENEITY
  • Marine & Freshwater Biology
  • ROCKY REEFS
  • FOULING COMMUNITY
  • POOLE-BAY
  • PERFORMANCE
  • LARVAL SETTLEMENT

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