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Drill-cored rock pools: an effective method of ecological enhancement on artificial structures

Drill-cored rock pools: an effective method of ecological enhancement on artificial structures
Drill-cored rock pools: an effective method of ecological enhancement on artificial structures
Coastal defences are proliferating in response to anticipated climate change and there is increasing need for ecologically sensitive design in their construction. Typically, these structures support lower biodiversity than natural rocky shores. Although several studies have tested habitat enhancement interventions that incorporate novel water-retaining features into coastal defences, there remains a need for additional long-term, fully replicated trials to identify alternative cost-effective designs. We created artificial rock pools of two depths (12 cm, 5 cm) by drill-coring into a shore-parallel intertidal granite breakwater, to investigate their potential as an intervention for delivering ecological enhancement. After 18 months the artificial rock pools supported greater species richness than adjacent granite rock surfaces on the breakwater, and similar species richness to natural rock pools on nearby rocky shores. Community composition was, however, different between artificial and natural pools. The depth of artificial rock pools did not affect richness or community structure. Although the novel habitats did not support the same communities as natural rock pools, they clearly provided important habitat for several species that were otherwise absent at mid-shore height on the breakwater. These findings reveal the potential of drill-cored rock pools as an affordable and easily replicated means of enhancing biodiversity on a variety of coastal defence structures, both at the design stage and retrospectively.
coastal protection, complexity, conservation, ecological engineering, management, urban ecology
1323-1650
123-130
Evans, Ally J.
8d799f4f-07ea-4159-b8ac-8d0e240f9329
Firth, Louise B.
755faf49-95e5-419e-8804-9b06d655e842
Hawkins, Stephen J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Morris, Elisabeth S.
ca608f9b-bab2-4996-8e2a-c477139e0b5f
Goudge, Harry
f7b3be2f-a4f7-4c30-8d6f-2104e1d26028
Moore, Pippa J.
f72a6bd0-79f4-41d2-b81b-84e86fd98ff6
Evans, Ally J.
8d799f4f-07ea-4159-b8ac-8d0e240f9329
Firth, Louise B.
755faf49-95e5-419e-8804-9b06d655e842
Hawkins, Stephen J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Morris, Elisabeth S.
ca608f9b-bab2-4996-8e2a-c477139e0b5f
Goudge, Harry
f7b3be2f-a4f7-4c30-8d6f-2104e1d26028
Moore, Pippa J.
f72a6bd0-79f4-41d2-b81b-84e86fd98ff6

Evans, Ally J., Firth, Louise B., Hawkins, Stephen J., Morris, Elisabeth S., Goudge, Harry and Moore, Pippa J. (2016) Drill-cored rock pools: an effective method of ecological enhancement on artificial structures. Marine and Freshwater Research, 67 (1), 123-130. (doi:10.1071/MF14244).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Coastal defences are proliferating in response to anticipated climate change and there is increasing need for ecologically sensitive design in their construction. Typically, these structures support lower biodiversity than natural rocky shores. Although several studies have tested habitat enhancement interventions that incorporate novel water-retaining features into coastal defences, there remains a need for additional long-term, fully replicated trials to identify alternative cost-effective designs. We created artificial rock pools of two depths (12 cm, 5 cm) by drill-coring into a shore-parallel intertidal granite breakwater, to investigate their potential as an intervention for delivering ecological enhancement. After 18 months the artificial rock pools supported greater species richness than adjacent granite rock surfaces on the breakwater, and similar species richness to natural rock pools on nearby rocky shores. Community composition was, however, different between artificial and natural pools. The depth of artificial rock pools did not affect richness or community structure. Although the novel habitats did not support the same communities as natural rock pools, they clearly provided important habitat for several species that were otherwise absent at mid-shore height on the breakwater. These findings reveal the potential of drill-cored rock pools as an affordable and easily replicated means of enhancing biodiversity on a variety of coastal defence structures, both at the design stage and retrospectively.

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More information

Published date: 2016
Keywords: coastal protection, complexity, conservation, ecological engineering, management, urban ecology
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 386900
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/386900
ISSN: 1323-1650
PURE UUID: 83a1ad65-e65b-4091-b311-60749d43996a

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Date deposited: 04 Feb 2016 10:56
Last modified: 27 Apr 2022 06:19

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Contributors

Author: Ally J. Evans
Author: Louise B. Firth
Author: Elisabeth S. Morris
Author: Harry Goudge
Author: Pippa J. Moore

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