Fouling reefal communities on artificial reefs: Does age matter?

S. Perkol-Finkel, N. Shashar, O. Barneah, R. Ben-David-Zaslow, U. Oren, T. Reichart, T. Yacobovich, G. Yahel, R. Yahel, Y. Benayahu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

Man-made submerged structures, including shipwrecks, offering substrata for fouling organisms and fish, have been classified secondarily as artificial reefs (ARs). The current approach in AR design is that of low-profile structures placed on the seabed and attempting to mimic natural reef (NR) communities with the aim of mitigating degraded marine ecosystems. To examine the validity of this concept, a long-term comparison of the developing AR fouling communities to those of nearby NRs is required. A survey of the fouling reefal organisms was conducted on seven shipwrecks (Red Sea, Egypt), comprising three young (ca 20 years old) and four old (> 100 years old) unplanned ARs, in comparison to nearby NR communities. The hypothesis tested was that the age of the ARs shapes the structure of their fouling coral communities. The results demonstrated distinct differences between ARs and NRs and between young and old ARs. While the species composition on ARs may resemble that of NRs after approximately 20 years, obtaining a similar extent of coral cover may require a full century. Moreover, differences in structural features between ARs and NRs may lead to differences in species composition that persist even after 100 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-140
Number of pages14
JournalBiofouling
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the crew of the King Snefro IV for their delightful assistance in the field, and the Ras Mohammed National Park Authority and the Department of Natural Protectorates of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency for their co-operation in this project. We would like to thank the Interuniversity Institute of Eilat for the use of its facilities, and the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority for assistance. We appreciate the statistical advice of T. Dagan. Our thanks to the Tel Aviv University Zoological Museum for the use of the reference collections, A. Shlagman for his curatorial skills, N. Paz for editorial assistance and V. Wexsler for graphic assistance. We wish to acknowledge the fruitful advice of the anonymous reviewers. This research was supported by the National Geographic Society grant # 6713-00 to Y.B. and the PADI foundation, grant 103/1999 to N.S.

Funding

We thank the crew of the King Snefro IV for their delightful assistance in the field, and the Ras Mohammed National Park Authority and the Department of Natural Protectorates of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency for their co-operation in this project. We would like to thank the Interuniversity Institute of Eilat for the use of its facilities, and the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority for assistance. We appreciate the statistical advice of T. Dagan. Our thanks to the Tel Aviv University Zoological Museum for the use of the reference collections, A. Shlagman for his curatorial skills, N. Paz for editorial assistance and V. Wexsler for graphic assistance. We wish to acknowledge the fruitful advice of the anonymous reviewers. This research was supported by the National Geographic Society grant # 6713-00 to Y.B. and the PADI foundation, grant 103/1999 to N.S.

FundersFunder number
PADI Foundation103/1999
National Geographic Society6713-00

    Keywords

    • Artificial reefs
    • Community structure
    • Coral reefs
    • Red Sea
    • Shipwreck

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