An Indication of the Process: Offshore Platforms as Artificial Reefs in the Gulf of Mexico
Abstract:Fish and biofouling communities at three artificial reef sites in the Gulf of Mexico were monitored from 1989 through 1991. South Timbalier Block 86 Platform A (86-A) was toppled by a hurricane in 1985; South Timbalier Block 128 Platform A (128-A) was detonated and toppled in place in the fall of 1988; and South Timbalier Block 134 Platform D (l34-D) was detonated, towed, and deployed in 1991 about 30 m from 128-A. The results of a 1989 survey of fishes and invertebrates at 86-A and at 128-A suggested that the communities were more mature at 86-A. The predominance of immature fish and the paucity of adults of those same species on 128-A indicated that this artificial reef was acting as a recruitment site. Observations in 1990 at 86-A were essentially the same as those of 1989, while the communities at 128-A showed a greater diversity and maturity; however, both communities exhibited a decrease in octocoral biomass. Observations in 1991 at 86-A were essentially the same as those of 1989 and 1990, while the communities at 128-A continued to show further development. A large number of immature fish and a pioneering biofouling community at 134-D were comparable to the 1989 observations made at 128-A. Further, adult reef-dependent species were observed moving freely between 128-A and 134-D. Observations made in 1989 at 86-A and 128-A suggest that differences were related to the manner by which each structure was toppled and the length of time each had remained undisturbed; differences observed between 1989 and 1990 were related to time undisturbed and meteorological conditions of the winter of 1989; and differences recorded between 1990 and 1991 were related to continued diversification and maturation of the community at 128-A. Observations made in 1991 at 128-A and 134-D suggest that 134-D acted as a recruitment reef as well as part of a reef complex for adult reef-dependent species moving between the adjacent structures.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 1994
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