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Facing the future: the importance of substratum features for ecological engineering of artificial habitats in the rocky intertidal

Facing the future: the importance of substratum features for ecological engineering of artificial habitats in the rocky intertidal
Facing the future: the importance of substratum features for ecological engineering of artificial habitats in the rocky intertidal
Coastal defences are proliferating in response to climate change, leading to the creation of more vertical substrata. Efforts are being made to mitigate their impacts and create novel habitats to promote biodiversity. Little is known about the effect of aspect (i.e. north–south directionality) and inclination on intertidal biodiversity in artificial habitats. Artificial and natural habitats were compared to assess the role of aspect and substratum inclination in determining patterns of biodiversity at two tidal heights (high and mid). We also compared grazing activity between north- and south-facing surfaces in natural habitats to examine the potential for differential grazing pressure to affect community structure and functioning. Results were variable but some clear patterns emerged. Inclination had no effect on biodiversity or abundance. There was a general trend towards greater taxon richness and abundance on north-facing than south-facing substrata in natural and artificial habitats. On natural shores, the abundance and grazing activity of ‘southern’ limpets (i.e. Patella depressa) was greater on south-facing than north-facing substrata, with possible implications for further range-expansion. These results highlight the importance of incorporating shaded habitats in the construction of artificial habitats. These habitats may represent an important refuge from grazing pressure and thermal and desiccation stress in a warming climate.
artificial coastal defence structure, aspect, biodiversity, grazing pressure, substratum inclination
1323-1650
131-143
Firth, Louise B.
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White, Freya J.
93293c90-0b15-4988-b915-32722de78f3e
Schofield, Meredith
8f9696a7-fdf2-4328-833f-2a6300cf588d
Hanley, Mick E.
dd3d272e-0ced-44f8-a6c5-5a9a2ec8c441
Burrows, Michael T.
a38026ff-26eb-4a99-8cdd-34bf6b9b479d
Thompson, Richard C.
f439ea56-b6dd-48cf-8adb-d9c2ecc6e24d
Skov, Martin W.
cd88f083-d45d-4f18-a306-4011ca11b40b
Evans, Ally J.
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Moore, Pippa J.
f72a6bd0-79f4-41d2-b81b-84e86fd98ff6
Hawkins, Stephen J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Firth, Louise B.
755faf49-95e5-419e-8804-9b06d655e842
White, Freya J.
93293c90-0b15-4988-b915-32722de78f3e
Schofield, Meredith
8f9696a7-fdf2-4328-833f-2a6300cf588d
Hanley, Mick E.
dd3d272e-0ced-44f8-a6c5-5a9a2ec8c441
Burrows, Michael T.
a38026ff-26eb-4a99-8cdd-34bf6b9b479d
Thompson, Richard C.
f439ea56-b6dd-48cf-8adb-d9c2ecc6e24d
Skov, Martin W.
cd88f083-d45d-4f18-a306-4011ca11b40b
Evans, Ally J.
8d799f4f-07ea-4159-b8ac-8d0e240f9329
Moore, Pippa J.
f72a6bd0-79f4-41d2-b81b-84e86fd98ff6
Hawkins, Stephen J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa

Firth, Louise B., White, Freya J., Schofield, Meredith, Hanley, Mick E., Burrows, Michael T., Thompson, Richard C., Skov, Martin W., Evans, Ally J., Moore, Pippa J. and Hawkins, Stephen J. (2016) Facing the future: the importance of substratum features for ecological engineering of artificial habitats in the rocky intertidal. Marine and Freshwater Research, 67 (1), 131-143. (doi:10.1071/MF14163).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Coastal defences are proliferating in response to climate change, leading to the creation of more vertical substrata. Efforts are being made to mitigate their impacts and create novel habitats to promote biodiversity. Little is known about the effect of aspect (i.e. north–south directionality) and inclination on intertidal biodiversity in artificial habitats. Artificial and natural habitats were compared to assess the role of aspect and substratum inclination in determining patterns of biodiversity at two tidal heights (high and mid). We also compared grazing activity between north- and south-facing surfaces in natural habitats to examine the potential for differential grazing pressure to affect community structure and functioning. Results were variable but some clear patterns emerged. Inclination had no effect on biodiversity or abundance. There was a general trend towards greater taxon richness and abundance on north-facing than south-facing substrata in natural and artificial habitats. On natural shores, the abundance and grazing activity of ‘southern’ limpets (i.e. Patella depressa) was greater on south-facing than north-facing substrata, with possible implications for further range-expansion. These results highlight the importance of incorporating shaded habitats in the construction of artificial habitats. These habitats may represent an important refuge from grazing pressure and thermal and desiccation stress in a warming climate.

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Published date: January 2016
Keywords: artificial coastal defence structure, aspect, biodiversity, grazing pressure, substratum inclination
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

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Local EPrints ID: 386906
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/386906
ISSN: 1323-1650
PURE UUID: b0d729ff-30a5-4afa-a4a7-e277ded15d2f

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Date deposited: 04 Feb 2016 11:24
Last modified: 08 Jan 2022 00:46

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Contributors

Author: Louise B. Firth
Author: Freya J. White
Author: Meredith Schofield
Author: Mick E. Hanley
Author: Michael T. Burrows
Author: Richard C. Thompson
Author: Martin W. Skov
Author: Ally J. Evans
Author: Pippa J. Moore

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