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Free Content Colonization of Artificial Reef Materials by Corals and Other Sessile Organisms

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Benthic community development was compared on coral rock and materials used to construct artificial reefs at two sites off Oahu, Hawaii. The materials tested were concrete, car tires and metal (painted steel). In Kaneohe Bay, one series of plates was immersed in winter, another in summer. At both sites, plates were oriented horizontally, and upper and lower surfaces were examined for corals which were counted, measured, and the number of polyps recorded. Cover of sessile organisms on the Kaneohe Bay plates was estimated, and counts of sessile species were made on some Kahala plates. Highest coral recruitment in Kaneohe Bay was on metal and least on tires. Recruitment peaked in summer due to heavy settlement of Montipora verrucosa on lower surfaces. M. verrucosa larvae often settled in groups, on the shells of organisms and directly on the materials except tires. The M. verrucosa polyps grew slowly, and their mortality was high. A few coral recruits, mostly Porites lobata were found on the Kahala plates. Most corals at this site were on the top of the plates. In Kaneohe Bay, where fish grazing was low, thalloid algae, and solitary and colonial tunicates were common on the plates. Compound tunicate cover was higher on plates immersed in winter than summer, and higher on concrete and coral than on metal or tire plates. There was more open space on tire and metal than on coral and concrete plates. Intense fish grazing occurred off Kahala, and encrusting bryozoans, coralline algae and prostrate macroalgae were common. Concrete is recommended for artificial reef construction because community development was most similar to coral, it is durable in seawater and it can be shaped to specification. Metal structures which disintegrate slowly would also be appropriate.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1989-03-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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