Macroalgal vegetation on a north European artificial reef (Loch Linnhe, Scotland): biodiversity, community types and role of abiotic factors

Konstantinos Tsiamis, Maria Salomidi, Vasilis Gerakaris, Andrew O.M. Mogg, Elizabeth S. Porter, Martin D.J. Sayer, Frithjof Kuepper* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Very little is known about the marine macroalgae of artificial reefs—especially in the North Atlantic—despite the growing number and extent of man-made structures in the sea, and even though seaweed communities have paramount importance as primary producers, but also as feeding, reproductive and nursery grounds in coastal ecosystems. This paper explores the macroalgal diversity of a large system of artificial reefs in Loch Linnhe, on the west coast of Scotland, in a quantitative and qualitative study based on diving surveys and correlates the observations with the prevalent abiotic factors. The study was conducted in order to test the hypothesis that artificial reefs can enhance seaweed habitats—in particular, for kelps—and that there is a clear correlation with substrate type. While the reef is home to a large range of biota and abundance of early-successional species of turf and bushy macroalgae, totalling 56 taxa and with Delesseria sanguinea as the dominant species, canopy-forming perennial kelp species are conspicuously relatively rare. Macroalgal vegetation is explored in correlation with reef geometry/geography and depth. Statistical analysis shows benthic communities were strongly affected by substrate type, with turf algae and invertebrates dominating the artificial reefs, while bushy algae dominate the natural ones. Common macroinvertebrates associated with the phytobenthic communities are assessed qualitatively.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
Early online date3 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jan 2020

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Keywords

  • artificial reef
  • delesseria
  • laminaria
  • Phytobenthic communities
  • seaweeds
  • turf algae

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