Vertical artificial structures as an alternative habitat for coral reef fishes in disturbed environments

G. Rilov, Y. Benayahu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The coral reefs of Eilat (Red Sea) have been heavily damaged as a result of extensive tourist activity. Artificial reefs have been demonstrated to be a potential tool for the restoration of marine habitats. We investigated the fish assemblage on pillars supporting the oil jetties in Eilat, studying the species composition on these vertical structures; and the relationships between fish community features and the structural characteristics of these artificial reefs over time, using multivariate regression analysis. The fish assemblage on these 25-year-old structures was shown to be abundant and diverse, comprising 146 species, distributed among 35 families. The 10 most abundant species were planktivores, accounting for 78% of all individuals; the most numerous fish was Neopomacentrus miryae (Pomacentridae). Size and complexity of pillars were correlated with fish abundance, richness and diversity, and related to the availability of shelters. These community indices increased near the bottom, possibly due to behavioral preferences. High coefficient of variance (CV) values indicated high temporal variability, resulting from a pronounced recruitment of N. miryae and other common species during April 1993. We discuss the possible use of these artificial reefs as a model for the construction of artificial habitats aimed at the rehabilitation of fish assemblages in deteriorating natural coral reef areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-451
Number of pages21
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Volume45
Issue number4-5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1998

Keywords

  • Artificial reefs
  • Coral reef
  • Fish community
  • Recruitment
  • Red Sea

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