An experimental reef array was installed in April 1987 at a site located off the coast of Vero Beach, Florida to evaluate the suitability of using oil-ash concrete as a material for the construction of artificial reefs. Development of the fouling community was compared on experimental
oil-ash and concrete control bricks over a 2.5-yr period. The total number of species and the composition of the species recruiting to the test bricks were extremely similar for the two materials. The number of species was not significantly different between mix types. Few significant differences
in the percent coverage by individual species were found. There was a significant difference in percent unoccupied space with oil-ash bricks possessing a greater percentage of unoccupied space than concrete bricks during the first year of the study. This difference was associated with a greater
tendency of barnacles to slough off from the surface of the oil-ash bricks during this period, presumably due to a less stable brick surface. This effect was not observed during the second year of the study. There were no statistically significant trends for abundance of live barnacles, mean
percentage of dead barnacles, or mean barnacle size between the two reef materials. Stabilized oil-ash material developed fouling communities comparable to those of concrete substrates in most respects.
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