An assessment of change to fish and benthic communities following installation of an artificial reef

M. Hammond, T. Bond, J. Prince, R. K. Hovey, D. L. McLean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Artificial reefs are frequently installed to provide additional habitat that enhances recreational activities such as diving and fishing. This study assessed changes to habitats, macroinvertebrates and fish after installation of an artificial reef, deployed to influence the marine community and create a more appealing dive trial at Port Coogee, Western Australia. This was achieved by comparing the communities at three control sites to the impact site (artificial reef) before installation and at increased time intervals after installation (3, 11 and 20 months). Across the sampling period and at the impacted site the cover of brown turfing algae increased significantly by 87%. Relative to previous monitoring 18 new species of macroinvertebrate and on average 138 more individuals were detected during post reef surveys. Both the species richness and abundance of fish tended to increase at all sites over the duration of the survey. Although this result was not significant, the final sampling period detected 14 more species and on average 31 more individuals than the previous sampling period. The colonisation of these structures and the progression of the marine community at this site provides valuable insight into the potential function of engineered artificial reefs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101408
JournalRegional Studies in Marine Science
Volume39
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

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