Benthic macrofauna productivity enhancement by an artificial reef in Delaware Bay, USA

  • Published source details Steimle F. (2002) Benthic macrofauna productivity enhancement by an artificial reef in Delaware Bay, USA. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 59, S100-S105.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Create artificial reefs

Action Link
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
  1. Create artificial reefs

    A site comparison study in 1990–1994 of an artificial reef and nearby sandy habitat in Delaware Bay, North Atlantic Ocean, USA (Steimle et al. 2002) found that invertebrate biomass and secondary production were higher on the artificial reef than in adjacent natural sediments over five years. Average invertebrate biomass was higher on the reef (8,000 g/m2) than in the nearby sediments (180 g/m2). Average estimated secondary production (measure of consumers biomass regeneration over time) was also higher from invertebrates growing on the reef (3,990–9,555 kcal/m2/year) compared to invertebrates in the sediments (215–249 kcal/m2/year). This corresponded to an increase in average secondary productivity by a factor of 19–38 on artificial reef habitat compared to natural sandy habitat. An artificial reef made of complex concrete panels was created in 1989 to mitigate the loss of mudflats elsewhere. Twice per summer in 1990–1994, sessile invertebrates (>0.05 mm) growing on the artificial reef and within nearby sediments were identified and their biomass measured. Biomass data were used to estimate annual secondary production.

    (Summarised by: Anaëlle Lemasson)

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