Benthic Succession on an Artificial Reef Designed to Support a Kelp–Reef Community
Pendleton Artificial Reef (PAR) was constructed to determine the potential of artificial reefs to mitigate for possible losses of kelp–reef habitat resulting from operation of coastal power plants. Placed in August 1980, PAR consists of eight boulder modules (some topped with cobble) on a featureless sand bottom at a depth of 13.1 m below MLLW. We studied benthic succession on PAR from September 1981 through August 1983 using a point quadrat sampling technique to describe abundances and vertical distribution of organisms. During this period, small foliose and filamentous algae growing on or over other organisms accounted for 56% of the overstory cover. Cryptoarachnidium (a sediment fixing, encrusting ectoproct) and barnacles accounted for 66% of the understory cover. Cryptoarachnidium was particularly abundant on all modules, while algal turf cover was highest on modules constructed primarily of boulders. On module crests where light and water motion were highest, algal turf was greatest and negatively correlated with erect ectoprocts that were greatest on the slopes of modules. Since erect ectoprocts may inhibit algal colonization and were most abundant on the slopes, we suggest that light, turbidity, and competitive interactions with erect ectoprocts limit the comparatively high cover of algal turf to the module crests. Cover of algal turf was also greatest during periods of clear water in late fall and early winter, while erect ectoproct cover increased during the study period. Cryptoarachnidium cover increased rapidly during the first year after reef placement and stabilized during 1982–1983. Barnacles were the only organisms to show a decline in abundance during the study period. PAR has been in place over 3 years, but relatively to a local natural reef, is still dominated by early successional species. This phenomena appears to result from a number of factors, but especially environmental conditions at the time of reef placement and the isolation of PAR from other shallow reefs in the area.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 July 1985
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