Management of Artificial Reefs Designed to Support Natural Communities
Abstract:Pendleton Artificial Reef (PAR) was designed to determine the potential of artificial reefs for mitigating possible losses of kelp-reef habitat caused by operation of coastal power plants. In an attempt to alter natural succession on PAR, massive transplants (hundreds of individuals) of two kelp species (Macrocystis pyrifera and Pterygophora californica) and juvenile abalone (Hatiotis rufescens; thousands of individuals) have been conducted. Although the PAR site once supported a kelp forest, kelp transplant efforts were not successful, principally because of intensive grazing by two herbivorous fish; halfmoon and opaleye. Similarly, abalone transplantation was not successful, probably because of crab (Cancer spp.) predation and lack of suitable food. In hindsight, these attempts at manipulating succession may have been successful if the densities of grazing fish were artificially reduced, if abalone additions were delayed until more algae were present, and if abalone transplant techniques were used that would minimize predation. Management of artificial reefs should not be limited to only initial planning, but should also consider manipulating succession after placement. Initial planning should consider the physical and chemical environment (past and present), the biological environment (e.g., location with respect to surrounding communities that could influence dispersal and/or attraction of desirable or undesirable organisms), the design, size, and configuration of the artificial habitat relative to local natural habitats, as well as other factors that affect the quality of the subhabitats (e.g., construction material, interstitial volume, rugosity of the substratum). After an artificial reef has been constructed, there are additional factors that will influence community development. These include timing of reef installation (e.g., availability of spores and larvae to colonize the reef) and possible post reef placement management techniques (e.g., transplantation or removal of select species to alter natural succession). Our general conclusions with respect to succession on PAR is that although initial reef planning factors are important, these are subordinate to reef management techniques after installation (e.g., manipulation of prey/predator densities; addition or removal of select species to direct and/or disturb community succession).
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1985-07-01
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