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Long-term modifications of coastal defences enhance marine biodiversity

Long-term modifications of coastal defences enhance marine biodiversity
Long-term modifications of coastal defences enhance marine biodiversity
Realization that hard coastal infrastructures support lower biodiversity than natural habitats has prompted a wealth of research seeking to identify design enhancements offering ecological benefits. Some studies showed that artificial structures could be modified to increase levels of diversity. Most studies, however, only considered the short-term ecological effects of such modifications, even though reliance on results from short-term studies may lead to serious misjudgements in conservation. In this study, a seven-year experiment examined how the addition of small pits to otherwise featureless seawalls may enhance the stocks of a highly-exploited limpet. Modified areas of the seawall supported enhanced stocks of limpets seven years after the addition of pits. Modified areas of the seawall also supported a community that differed in the abundance of littorinids, barnacles and macroalgae compared to the controls. Responses to different treatments (numbers and size of pits) were species-specific and, while some species responded directly to differences among treatments, others might have responded indirectly via changes in the distribution of competing species. This type of habitat enhancement can have positive long-lasting effects on the ecology of urban seascapes. Understanding of species interactions could be used to develop a rule-based approach to enhance biodiversity.
Azores, coastal urbanization, community structure, conservation, habitat enhancement, long-term, Patella
0376-8929
109-116
Martins, Gustavo M.
c7156a0a-e15c-4b9f-9793-f24d8574e5bc
Jenkins, Stuart R.
63f5521f-fe3a-4dae-b582-4a6a8d3aa936
Neto, Ana I.
b544e774-2789-421a-997a-278c2520722b
Hawkins, Stephen
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Thompson, Richard C.
f439ea56-b6dd-48cf-8adb-d9c2ecc6e24d
Martins, Gustavo M.
c7156a0a-e15c-4b9f-9793-f24d8574e5bc
Jenkins, Stuart R.
63f5521f-fe3a-4dae-b582-4a6a8d3aa936
Neto, Ana I.
b544e774-2789-421a-997a-278c2520722b
Hawkins, Stephen
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Thompson, Richard C.
f439ea56-b6dd-48cf-8adb-d9c2ecc6e24d

Martins, Gustavo M., Jenkins, Stuart R., Neto, Ana I., Hawkins, Stephen and Thompson, Richard C. (2016) Long-term modifications of coastal defences enhance marine biodiversity. Environmental Conservation, 43 (2), 109-116. (doi:10.1017/S0376892915000284).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Realization that hard coastal infrastructures support lower biodiversity than natural habitats has prompted a wealth of research seeking to identify design enhancements offering ecological benefits. Some studies showed that artificial structures could be modified to increase levels of diversity. Most studies, however, only considered the short-term ecological effects of such modifications, even though reliance on results from short-term studies may lead to serious misjudgements in conservation. In this study, a seven-year experiment examined how the addition of small pits to otherwise featureless seawalls may enhance the stocks of a highly-exploited limpet. Modified areas of the seawall supported enhanced stocks of limpets seven years after the addition of pits. Modified areas of the seawall also supported a community that differed in the abundance of littorinids, barnacles and macroalgae compared to the controls. Responses to different treatments (numbers and size of pits) were species-specific and, while some species responded directly to differences among treatments, others might have responded indirectly via changes in the distribution of competing species. This type of habitat enhancement can have positive long-lasting effects on the ecology of urban seascapes. Understanding of species interactions could be used to develop a rule-based approach to enhance biodiversity.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 22 July 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 2 September 2015
Published date: June 2016
Keywords: Azores, coastal urbanization, community structure, conservation, habitat enhancement, long-term, Patella
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 396497
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/396497
ISSN: 0376-8929
PURE UUID: 557837b9-e7ca-4ea4-9a45-3c7ac111945a

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 06 Jun 2016 16:08
Last modified: 08 Jan 2022 18:36

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Contributors

Author: Gustavo M. Martins
Author: Stuart R. Jenkins
Author: Ana I. Neto
Author: Stephen Hawkins
Author: Richard C. Thompson

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