Journal Article

Using ecological processes to advance artificial reef goals

Margaret W. Miller

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 59, issue suppl, pages S27-S31
Published in print January 2002 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2002 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jmsc.2001.1162
Using ecological processes to advance artificial reef goals

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The ecological study of natural reef communities has followed a progression from observational/descriptive studies to a more experimental and process-oriented approach. Ironically, most published studies of artificial reefs are observational despite the fact that their manipulative nature lends these reefs to an experimental approach, and despite the potential benefits of an experimental, process-oriented approach to fulfilling their objectives. Most applications of artificial reefs are underpinned by ecological processes ranging from trophic interactions and recruitment to individual physiology and biogeochemical cycling. Examples concerning three goals are discussed; enhancement of fisheries production, ecosystem restoration, and water quality enhancement. These examples illustrate (1) predictions that can be drawn from basic ecological studies of “natural” reef organisms and ecosystems regarding ecological structure, processes, and performance of artificial reefs, and (2) how an experimental ecological approach has been (or could be) utilized to elucidate ecological process and yield specific improvements in the application of artificial reefs to achieve management goals. In fact, answering the “why” and “how” questions addressed by experimental process studies is the only way to improve our success in achieving any sort of ecological engineering objectives. Copyright 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd on behalf of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.

Keywords: artificial reefs; ecological processes; ecosystem restoration; experiments; fisheries; water quality.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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