Early faunal successional patterns in artificial reefs used for restoration of impacted biogenic habitats

Jose M. Fariñas-Franco, Dai Roberts

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    This study describes the early epifaunal succession associated with an artificial reef constructed to regenerate damaged biogenic habitats formed by Modiolus modiolus (Linnaeus, 1758). Clumps of live M. modiolus were translocated onto three treatments: flattened cultch, elevated cultch, and directly onto the sea floor. Photographic surveys were carried out 1, 6, and 12 months after completion of the experimental array to test the hypothesis that the artificial reef would enhance habitat complexity thus increasing biodiversity and accelerating faunal community succession. These effects were predicted to be greater on elevated cultch due to higher level of protection and greater accessibility to food compared to sea floor treatments. Univariate analysis indicated that after 12 months the artificial reef had developed a significantly richer and more diverse community compared to 1- and 6-month stages. Multivariate analysis revealed a significant temporal shift in species composition from mobile taxa to sessile and interstitial macroinvertebrates as the artificial reef settled. Reef elevation offered no significant advantages for the development of the epifaunal assemblage. Although further regular monitoring is advisable, this study demonstrated that translocation of a foundation species can help restore marine benthic habitats through the development of a diverse community in a relatively short time.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)75-94
    Number of pages20
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014


    • Artificial reef
    • Biogenic reef
    • Community succession
    • Ecological restoration
    • Fishing impact
    • Modiolus modiolus

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Aquatic Science


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