School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

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Artificial reefs continue to be added as habitat throughout the world, yet questions remain about how reef design affects fish diversity and abundance. In the present study, the effects of reef density were assessed for fish communities and sizes of economically valuable Lutjanus campechanus 13 km off Port Mansfield, Texas, at a reef composed of more than 4000 concrete culverts. The study spanned from May to June in 2013 and 2014, and sites sampled included natural reefs, bare areas, and varying culvert patch density categories, ranging from 1–190 culverts. Abundances of adults and species evenness of juvenile populations differed between the years. Fish communities did not significantly differ among density categories; however, highest species richness and total abundances were observed at intermediate culvert densities and at natural reefs. Whereas the abundance of L. campechanus did not differ among density categories, mean total lengths of L. campechanus were greatest at the lower density. Our findings suggest that reefs should be deployed with intermediate patch density of 71–120 culverts in a 30-m radius to yield the highest fish abundances.


© 2015 Froehlich, Kline. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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PLoS One





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