With large-scale development of offshore wind farms, vertical structures are becoming more common in open water areas. To examine how vertical structures of different materials may be colonized by epibenthic organisms, an experiment was carried out using steel and concrete pilings constructed to resemble those commonly used in wind farm constructions as well as in bridges, jetties and oil platforms. The early recruitment and succession of the epibenthic communities were sampled once a month for the first 5 months and then again after 1 year. Further, the fish assemblages associated with the pillars were sampled and compared to natural areas. The main epibenthic species groups, in terms of coverage, differed between the two materials at five out of six sampling occasions. Dominant organisms on steel pillars were the barnacle Balanus improvisus,the calcareous tubeworm Pomatoceros triqueter and the tunicate Ciona intestinalis. On the concrete pillars, the hydroid Laomedea sp. and the tunicates Corella parallelogramma and Ascidiella spp. dominated. However, there was no different in coverage at different heights on the pillars or in biomass and species abundance at different directions (north-east or south-west) 5 months after submergence. Fish showed overall higher abundances and species numbers on the pillars (but no difference between steel and concrete) compared to the surrounding soft bottom habitats but not compared to natural vertical rock walls. Two species were attracted to the pillars, indicating a reef effect; Gobiusculus flavescens and Ctenolabrus rupestris. The bottom-dwelling gobies, Pomatoschistus spp., did not show such preferences.
Epibenthic Colonization of Concrete and Steel Pilings in a Cold-Temperate Embayment: A Weld Experiment
Title: Epibenthic Colonization of Concrete and Steel Pilings in a Cold-Temperate Embayment: A Weld Experiment
March 22, 2009
Journal: Helgoland Marine Research
Andersson, M.; Berggren, M.; Wilhelmsson, D.; Öhman, M. (2009). Epibenthic Colonization of Concrete and Steel Pilings in a Cold-Temperate Embayment: A Weld Experiment. Helgoland Marine Research, 63(3), 249-260.