Marine Biology

, Volume 107, Issue 1, pp 41–52 | Cite as

Influence of an artificial reef on the surrounding infaunal community

  • R. F. Ambrose
  • T. W. Anderson


Artificial reefs have been constructed throughout the world, but their effects on adjacent soft-bottom communities are largely unknown. In December 1986, we investigated the influence of Pendleton Artificial Reef (PAR) in Southern California on the abundance of infauna in the surrounding sand bottom. PAR was constructed in 1980 of quarry rock placed in eight piles, or modules. The artificial reef altered the grain-size distribution of sediments around the reef; sediments close to the modules were coarser than those 10 or 20 m away from the modules. Densities of one of the two most common species, the polychaetePrionospio pygmaeus, were lower near the reef, perhaps due to foraging by reef-associated predators or because the habitat near the reef was less suitable. We found no evidence that foraging by reef-associated fishes caused a widespread reduction in infaunal densities near the reef, and in fact the other most common taxon,Spiophanes spp., had higher densities near the reef. The most conspicuous effect of the artificial reef concerned the tube-dwelling wormDiopatra ornata, which only occurred in close association with the modules. In addition, total infaunal density and the densities of decapods, echinoderms and sipunculids were higher withinD. ornata beds than outside the beds. These results indicate that the densities of some species were enhanced, and others depressed, around the reef, but that the overall effect of the artificial reef on the surrounding infauna was limited to a small area near the modules.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. F. Ambrose
    • 1
  • T. W. Anderson
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Science InstituteUniversity of California at Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraUSA

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