University of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

Contrasting patterns in habitat selection and recruitment of temperate reef fishes among natural and artificial reefs

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 11:35 authored by Valeriya KomyakovaValeriya Komyakova, Swearer, SE

Artificial reefs, a common management tool for stock enhancement of recreational fisheries and marine habitat restoration, have been deployed all over the world. However, little is known about the attractiveness of artificial compared to natural reefs to reef fishes. Here we investigated the habitat preferences of three reef fish species: Trachinops caudimaculatus, Vincentia conspersa and Trinorfoklia clarkei through the observation of recruitment patterns to three study habitats: Reef Ball reefs, custom-designed artificial reefs, and natural reefs in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia. Additionally, we examined habitat preferences of new recruits of T. caudimaculatus and V. conspersa using laboratory-based habitat choice experiments. In general, T. caudimaculatus recruitment was at least twice as high on natural reefs compared to both artificial reefs, whereas V. conspersa recruitment was almost three times greater on Reef Ball reefs compared to the other two habitats. T. clarkei recruited in equal numbers across all habitats. However, in the laboratory experiments T. caudimaculatus recruits selected the Reef Ball reef almost three times as often as the other two habitats, while V. conspersa exhibited no habitat preference. Little is known about the growth, condition, survival or reproduction of individuals that occupy artificial reefs. In areas where habitat is not limiting, the higher preference or equal attractiveness of some artificial habitats may negatively influence fish populations, if larvae are redirected to poorer quality artificial reef habitat, that lead to lower fitness advantages.


Publication title

Marine Environmental Research








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Elsevier Sci Ltd

Place of publication

The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox5 1Gb

Rights statement

© 2018 Elsevier Ltd.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Marine biodiversity; Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems