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Artificial rockpools create habitat refugia on seawalls at high tide.

Bone, J. R., Hall, A. E., Stafford, R., Mir, N. F., Benny, J. and Herbert, R. J. H., 2024. Artificial rockpools create habitat refugia on seawalls at high tide. Ecological Engineering, 206, 107318.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2024.107318


Rockpools are fundamental habitats on natural rocky shores that provide refugia for marine life at low and high tide. Yet, artificial coastal structures lack the topographical complexity seen in these natural habitats. Eco-engineering, that may include the deployment of artificial rockpools, attempts to address the lack of suitable habitat on coastal infrastructure but most studies focus on species abundance metrics at low tide. It is important to understand how eco-engineering interventions may provide habitat at high tide compared to the surrounding artificial substrate. In this study, we demonstrate how groups of rockpools (1, 3 or 5 rockpools) add habitat complexity at high tide to a concrete seawall in Poole Harbour, UK. Between April and October 2022, eighteen GoPro cameras were deployed to record species richness and abundance in artificial rockpools and the adjacent concrete sea wall. Additionally, the length of time the most abundant fauna (the shanny fish Lipophrys pholis and the European shore crab Carcinus maenas) spent engaging in different behaviour (resting, feeding, moving) was recorded. Overall, there was no significant difference in the abundance and species richness of mobile fauna using the artificial rockpools versus the seawall. However, both the shanny and shore crab generally spent more time in the rockpools than on the seawall. Both crabs and shanny preferentially engaged in feeding behaviours on the seawall, which has been attributed to the high percentage cover of barnacle prey. Crabs and shanny spent more time resting in the rockpools than the seawall and the only reproductive behaviour observed occurred within the rockpools. Our work suggests that artificial rockpools support the habitat needs and multiple life history requirements of these species at high tide. Both the seawall and rockpools provide valuable resources, which further emphasises the need for variety in eco-engineering feature designs.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecological enhancement; Nature-based solutions; Greening the grey; Nature inclusive design
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:40081
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:26 Jun 2024 07:33
Last Modified:26 Jun 2024 07:33


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