Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 343–355 | Cite as

Impact of artificial patchy reef design on the ichthyofauna community of seasonally influenced shores at Southeastern Brazil

  • Pedro Gatts
  • Marcos Franco
  • Luciano dos Santos
  • Diogo Rocha
  • Fabrício de Sá
  • Eurico Netto
  • Phillipe Machado
  • Bruno Masi
  • Ilana ZalmonEmail author


To investigate how variations in the small-scale distance between patchy reef modules affect the structure and composition of the associated ichthyofauna, concrete reefballs were arranged in three distance configurations, 0.5, 5 and 15 m, at 9 m depth off the northern Rio de Janeiro coast. The ichthyofauna was sampled in the dry and rainy seasons using gillnets, and the composition, richness, diversity, abundance and biomass per distance unit were recorded. The availability of potential macrobenthic prey was evaluated using a stainless steel corer for each inter-module distance, and the results correlated with the stomach contents of the captured ichthyofauna. Community descriptors did not significantly change with treatments of reef distance. A canonical correspondence analysis revealed similar fish composition among reef distance treatments, but increased occurrence of exclusive species and habitat-dependent fish with increased distances among reef modules. Non-metric multidimensional scaling showed different composition of fish populations between sampling periods, with a predominance of Sciaenidae in the dry season and Ariidae and Carcharhinidae on the rainy season. The adjacent infauna was not directly related to the ichthyofauna but to the benthic prey, which were possibly using the structure interstices, and small fish. Significant effects of seasonal freshwater and sediment loads from large regional coastal rivers may override the effects of reef configuration, especially during rainy seasons with higher inflow. As the shorter reef distance exhibited generally the same richness and abundance compared with larger and more distant reefs, a patchy design with <5.0 m distances is thus recommended for the distribution of artificial reefs to increase fish biodiversity in coastal environments with homogeneous substrate and seasonally influenced by freshwater outflow and sediment from large rivers.


Artificial reef Patchy design Ichthyofauna Community structure Predation Southeastern Brazil 



This work was funded by the Research Foundation of Rio de Janeiro—FAPERJ (E-26/110.437/2010)—and the Brazilian Agency for Research Development—CNPq (470997/2010-9).


  1. Acosta AR (1997) Use of multi-mesh gillnets and trammel nets to estimate fish species composition in coral reef and mangroves in the southwest coast of Puerto Rico. Caribb J Sci 33:45–57Google Scholar
  2. Acosta AR, Appeldoorn RS (1995) Catching efficiency and selectivity of gillnets and trammel nets in coral reefs from southwestern Puerto Rico. Fish Res 22:175–196. doi: 10.1016/0165-7836(94)00328-T CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Amaral ACZ, Nonato EF (1996) Annelida Polychaeta: características, glossário e chaves para famílias e gêneros da costa brasileira. Ed. UNICAMP, CampinasGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson TW, DeMartini EE, Roberts DA (1989) The relationship between habitat structure, body size and distribution of fishes at a temperature artificial reef. Bull Mar Sci 44:681–697Google Scholar
  5. Baine M (2001) Artificial reefs: a review of their design, application, management and performance. Ocean Coast Manag 44:241–259. doi: 10.1016/S0964-5691(01)00048-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baine M, Side J (2003) Habitat modification and manipulation as a management tool. Rev Fish Biol Fish 13:197–199. doi: 10.1023/B:RFBF.0000019480.95010.67 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bohnsack JA (1989) Are high densities of fishes at artificial reefs the result of habitat limitation or behavioral preference? Bull Mar Sci 44(2):631–645Google Scholar
  8. Bortone SA, Cody RP, Turpin RK, Bundrick CM (1998) The impact of artificial reef fish assemblages on their potential forage area. Ital J Zool 65:265–267. doi: 10.1080/11250009809386830 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brotto DS, Zalmon IR (2007) The effect of artificial reef structural complexity and benthic colonization on gill net fish assemblages. Trop Oceangr 35:1–16Google Scholar
  10. Brotto DS, Krohling W, Brum S, Zalmon IR (2006) Usage patterns of an artificial reef by the fish community on the northern coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. J Coast Res 39:1122–1125Google Scholar
  11. Caddy JF (1999) Fisheries management in the twenty-first century: Will new paradigms apply? Rev Fish Biol Fish 9:1–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Campbell MD, Rose K, Boswell K, Cowan J (2011) Individual-based modeling of an artificial reef fish community: effects of habitat quantity and refuge. Ecol Model 222:3895–3909. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2011.10.009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Carvalho CEV, Salomão MSMB, Molisani MM, Rezende CE, Lacerda LD (2002) Contribution of a medium-sized tropical river to the particulate heavy metal load for the South Atlantic Ocean. Sci Total Environ 284:85–93. doi: 10.1016/S0048-9697(01)00869-5 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Charbonnel E, Serre C, Ruitton S, Harmelin JG, Jensen A (2002) Effects of increasing habitat complexity on fish assemblages associated with large artificial reef units (French Mediterranean coast). J Mar Sci 59:208–213. doi: 10.1006/jmsc.2002.1263 Google Scholar
  15. Clarke KR, Warwick RM (2001) Change in marine communities: an approach to statistical analysis and interpretation, 2nd edn. Primer-E, PlymouthGoogle Scholar
  16. Fabi G, Fiorentini L (1994) Comparison between an artificial reef and a control site in the Adriatic Sea: analysis of four years of monitoring. Bull Mar Sci 55:538–558Google Scholar
  17. Fabi G, Spagnolo A, Bellan-Santini D, Charbonnel E, Çiçek BA, García JJG, Jensen AC, Killianoites A, Santos MN (2011) Overview on artificial reefs on Europe. Braz J Ocean 59:155–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Feary DA, Burt JA, Bortholomew A (2011) Artificial marine habitats in the Arabian Gulf: review of current use, benefits and management implications. Ocean Coast Manag 54:742–749. doi: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2011.07.008 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Franco MAL (2013) Uso de ferramentas múltiplas na investigação do impacto de um recife artificial sobre uma assembleia de peixes transientes no norte do estado do Rio de Janeiro. Thesis, North Rio de Janeiro UniversityGoogle Scholar
  20. Frazer TK, Lindberg WJ (1994) Refuge spacing similarly affects reef-associated species from three phyla. Bull Mar Sci 55:388–400Google Scholar
  21. Fulgêncio AG (2004) Levantamento da ictiofauna associada à foz principal do Rio Paraíba do Sul e área marinha adjacente. Monography, North Rio de Janeiro UniversityGoogle Scholar
  22. Garcez DS (2007) Caracterização da pesca artesanal autônoma em distintos compartimentos fisiográficos e suas áreas de influência, no estado do Rio de Janeiro. Thesis, Federal University of Rio de JaneiroGoogle Scholar
  23. Gatts PV, Franco MAL, Santos LN, Rocha DF, Zalmon IR (2014) Influence of the artificial reef configuration on transient ichthyofauna—Southeastern Brazil. Ocean Coast Manag 98:111–119. doi: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2014.06.022 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Godefroid RS, Spach HL, Santos C, MacLaren G, Schwarz R (2004) Mudanças temporais na abundância e diversidade da fauna de peixes do infralitoral raso de uma praia, sul do Brasil. Iheringia Sér Zool 94:95–104. doi: 10.1590/Soo73-47212004000100017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Godoy EAS, Almeida TCM, Zalmon IR (2002) Fish assemblages and environmental variables on an artificial reef—Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. ICES J Mar Sci 59:138–143. doi: 10.1006/jmsc.2002.1190 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gomes MP, Cunha MS, Zalmon IR (2003) Spatial and temporal variations of diurnal ichthyofauna on surf-zone of São Francisco do Itabapoana beaches, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil. Braz Arch Biol Technol 46:653–664. doi: 10.1590/S1516-89132003000400020 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hackradt CW, Félix-Hackradt FC, García-Charton JA (2011) Influence of habitat structure on fish assemblage of an artificial reef in southern Brazil. Mar Environ Res 72:235–247. doi: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2011.09.006 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Herrera R, Espino F, Garrido M, Haroun RJ (2002) Observations on fish colonization and predation on two artificial on two artificial reefs in the Canary Islands. ICES J Mar Sci 59:69–73. doi: 10.1006/jmsc.2002.1291 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hixon MA, Beets JP (1989) Shelter characteristics and Caribbean fish assemblages: experiments with artificial reefs. Bull Mar Sci 44:666–680Google Scholar
  30. Hixon MA, Beets JP (1993) Predation, prey refuges, and the structure of coral-reef fish assemblages. Ecol Monogr 63(1):77–101. doi: 10.2307/2937124 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jan RQ, Liu YH, Chen CY, Wang MC, Song GS, Lin HC, Shao KT (2003) Effects of pile size of artificial reefs on the standing stocks of fishes. Fish Res 63:327–337. doi: 10.1016/S0165-7836(03)00081-X CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jordan LKB, Gilliam DS, Spieler RE (2005) Reef fish assemblage structure affected by small-scale spacing and size variations of artificial patch reefs. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 326:170–186. doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2005.05.023 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Krohling W, Zalmon IR (2008) Epibenthic colonization on an artificial reef in a stressed environment off the north coast of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Braz Arch Biol Technol 51:215–223. doi: 10.1590/S1516-89132008000100025 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Krohling W, Brotto DS, Zalmon IR (2006) Functional role of fouling community on an artificial reef at the northern coast of Rio de Janeiro. Braz J Oceangr 54:183–191. doi: 10.1590/S1679-87592006000300002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Leitão F, Santos MN, Monteiro CC (2007) Contribution of artificial reefs on the diet of the White sea bream (Diplodus sargus). ICES J Mar Sci 64:1–6. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsm027 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lepš J, Šmilauer P (2003) Multivariate analysis of ecological data using CANOCO. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lindberg WJ (1996) Fundamental design parameters for artificial reefs: interaction of patch reef spacing and size. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, FloridaGoogle Scholar
  38. Lindquist DG, Cahoon LB, Clavijo IE, Posey MH, Bolden SK, Pike LA, Burk SW, Cardullo PA (1994) Reef fish stomach and prey abundance on reef and sand substrata associated with artificial and natural reefs in Onslow bay, North Carolina. Bull Mar Sci 55(2–3):308–318Google Scholar
  39. MacArthur RH, Pianka ER (1966) On optimal use a patchy environment. Am Nat 100:603–609CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Machado PM, Sá FS, Rezende CE, Zalmon IR (2013) Artificial reef impact on macrobenthic community on south-eastern Brazil coast. Mar Biodivers Rec 6:1–9. doi: 10.1017/S1755267213000183 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Major PF (1978) Predator-prey interactions in two schooling fishes, Caranx ignobilis and Stolephorus purpureus. Anim Behav 26:760–777. doi: 10.1016/0003-3472(78)90142-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Melo GAS (1996) Manual de identificação dos Brachyura (caranguejos e siris) do litoral brasileiro. Ed. Plêiade, São PauloGoogle Scholar
  43. Menezes NA, Figueiredo JL (1980) Manual de peixes marinhos do sudeste do Brasil, vol IV. Museu de Zoologia—USP, São Paulo (Teleostei (3)) Google Scholar
  44. Milinski M (1986) A review of competitive resource sharing under constraints in sticklebacks. J Fish Biol 29:1–14. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.1986.tb04994.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Militelli MI, Macchi GJ, Rodrigues KA (2013) Comparative reproductive biology of Sciaenidae family species in the Río de la Plata and Buenos Aires coastal zone, Argentina. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 93(2):413–423. doi: 10.1017/S0025315412001488 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Morton DN, Shima JS (2013) Habitat configuration and availability influences the settlement of temperate reef fishes (Tripterygiidae). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 449:215–220. doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2013.09.017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Nanami A, Nishihira M (2002) The structures and dynamics of fish communities in an Okinawan coral reef: effects on coral-based habitat structures at sites with rocky and sandy sea bottoms. Environ Biol Fish 63:353–372. doi: 10.1023/A:1014952932694 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Nelson JS, Bortone SA (1996) Feeding guilds among artificial-reef fishes in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Gulf Mex Sci 2:66–80Google Scholar
  49. Ogden JC (1976) Some aspects of herbivore-plant relationships on Caribbean reefs and seagrass beds. Aquat Bot 2:103–106. doi: 10.1016/0304-3770(76)90013-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Polovina JJ (1991) Fisheries applications and biological impacts of artificial reefs. In: Seaman W, Sprague LM (eds) Artificial habitats for marine and freshwater fisheries. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 153–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Randall JE (1963) An analysis of the fish populations of artificial and natural reefs in the Virgin Islands. Carib J Sci 3(1):31–47Google Scholar
  52. Randall JE (1965) Grazing effect of seagrasses by herbivorous reef fishes in the Virgin Islands. Ecology 46:255–260. doi: 10.2307/1936328 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Relini G, Relini M, Torchia G, De Angelis G (2002) Trophic relationships between fishes and an artificial reef. ICES J Mar Sci 59:36–42. doi: 10.1006/jmsc.2002.1212 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rios EC (1994) Seashells of Brazil, 2nd edn. Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, Rio GrandeGoogle Scholar
  55. Santos LN, Brotto DS, Zalmon IR (2010) Fish responses to increasing distance from artificial reefs on the Southeastern Brazilian Coast. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 386(1–2):54–60. doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2010.01.018 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Santos LN, Brotto DS, Zalmon IR (2011) Assessing artificial reefs for fisheries management: a 10-year assessment of Northern coast of Rio de Janeiro. In: Bortone SA, Brandini FP, Fabi G, Otake S (eds) Artificial Reefs in Fisheries Management. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 125–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Schroeder RE (1987) Effects of patch size and isolation on coral reef fish recruitment. Bull Mar Sci 41:441–451Google Scholar
  58. Seaman W (1996) Does the level of design influences success of an artificial reef? In: Proceedings of the 1st Conference of the European Artificial Reef Research Network. Ancona, Italy. p 96Google Scholar
  59. Sherman RL, Gilliam DS, Spieler RE (2002) Artificial reef design: void space, complexity, and attractants. ICES J Mar Sci 59:S196–S200. doi: 10.1006/jmsc.2001.1163 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Simon TE (2011) Target fishes on artificial reefs: evidences of impacts over nearby natural environments. Sci Total Environ 409:4579–4584. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.07.057 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Souza LM, Chaves PT (2007) Reproductive activity of fish (Teleostei) and closed season to shrimp trawling off the northern coast of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Rev Bras Zoo 24(4):1113–1121. doi: 10.1590/S0101-81752007000400031 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. SPSS (2006) SPSS 15.SPSS, Chicago, IL, USAGoogle Scholar
  63. Stephens DW, Krebs JR (1986) Foraging Theory. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  64. Yamamoto KC, Freitas CEC, Zuanon J, Hurd LE (2014) Fish diversity and species composition in small-scale artificial reefs in Amazonian floodplain lakes: refugia for rare species? Ecol Eng 67:165–170. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2014.03.045 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Zalmon IR, Novelli R, Gomes MP, Faria VV (2002) Experimental results of an artificial reef program on the Brazilian Coast North of Rio de Janeiro. ICES J Mar Sci 59:S83–S87. doi: 10.1006/jmsc.2002.1273 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zalmon IR, Sá FS, Netto ED, Rezende CE, Machado PM, Almeida TM (2014) Impacts of artificial reef spatial configuration on the infauna community structure—Southeastern Brazil. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol. doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2014.01.015 Google Scholar
  67. Zar JH (1999) Biostatistical analysis, 2nd edn. Prentice-Hall inc, New JerseyGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pedro Gatts
    • 1
  • Marcos Franco
    • 1
  • Luciano dos Santos
    • 2
  • Diogo Rocha
    • 1
  • Fabrício de Sá
    • 3
  • Eurico Netto
    • 3
  • Phillipe Machado
    • 1
  • Bruno Masi
    • 1
  • Ilana Zalmon
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Centre of Biosciences and BiotechnologyUniversity of North Rio de Janeiro StateRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Marine ResourcesFederal University of Rio de Janeiro StateRio de JaneiroBrazil
  3. 3.Ethica Ambiental Serviços e Consultoria LtdaVila VelhaBrazil

Personalised recommendations