The role of differential survival patterns in shaping coral communities on neighboring artificial and natural reefs

Shimrit Perkol-Finkel, Yehuda Benayahu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Understanding the processes that shape artificial reef (AR) communities is critical if these are to be implemented for reef restoration or enhancement purposes. A study of the post-recruitment survival of coral colonies transplanted onto a 19-year-old AR and its adjacent natural reef (NR) was carried out at Eilat (Red Sea) in order to test the hypothesis that differences in benthic communities between the two reefs are derived from differential survival processes. Transplanted miniature coral colonies were monitored in situ on both reef types. It was found that the survival of those of the soft coral Dendronephthya hemprichi on the AR was nearly double that of those transplanted onto the NR. Similarly, survival of nubbins of the stony coral Pocillopora damicornis on the AR was over three-fold greater than on the NR. We suggest that the observed differential survival resulted from the unique suites of environmental conditions at the two habitats, mainly in terms of sedimentation load and current velocities, yet not from differences in substratum type (artificial vs. natural). The results demonstrate the role played by survival processes in shaping coral assemblages on ARs and NRs, and indicate that post-recruitment survival must be considered when designing ARs for restoration or enhancement purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Volume369
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 14 Feb 2009

Keywords

  • Coral transplantation
  • Current velocity
  • Dendronephthya hemprichi
  • Miniature colonies
  • Pocillopora damicornis
  • Survival

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