Patchiness in habitat distribution can enhance biological diversity of coastal engineering structures

  • Published source details Cacabelos E., Thompson R.C., Prestes A.C.L., Azevedo J.M.N., Neto A.I. & Martins G.M. (2019) Patchiness in habitat distribution can enhance biological diversity of coastal engineering structures. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 29, 127-135.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Create pit habitats (1–50 mm) on intertidal artificial structures

Action Link
Biodiversity of Marine Artificial Structures
  1. Create pit habitats (1–50 mm) on intertidal artificial structures

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2013–2016 on an intertidal seawall on open coastline in the Atlantic Ocean, Azores (Cacabelos et al. 2019) reported that pit habitats created on the seawall supported more limpets Patella candei, periwinkles Tectarius striatus and small periwinkles Melarhaphe neritoides than seawall surfaces without pits, and found that their species richness and diversity (but not abundance) varied depending on the pit patchiness. After 30 months, average limpet and periwinkle species richness was 2 species/surface with pits and 1/surface without, while average abundances were 2–22 individuals/surface with pits and 0/surface without (data not statistically tested). Species diversity and richness varied depending on the pit patchiness, but average abundances did not. Pit occupancy and the effects of patchiness on total abundances varied by species (see paper for details). Pit habitats were created in December 2013 by drilling into a basalt boulder seawall. Arrays of 16 round pits (diameter: 12 mm; depth: 10 mm) on 250 × 250 mm surfaces had three levels of patchiness: high (4 patches of 4); moderate (2 patches of 8); and low (evenly-spaced). There were five surfaces of each and five without pits, randomly arranged at midshore in each of two sites along the seawall. Seasnails were counted on surfaces with and without pits during low tide after 30 months.

    (Summarised by: Ally Evans)

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