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History, ecology and trends for artificial reefs of the Ligurian sea, Italy
Relini, G.; Relini, M.; Palandri, G.; Merello, S.; Beccornia, E. (2007). History, ecology and trends for artificial reefs of the Ligurian sea, Italy. Hydrobiologia 580(1): 193-217.
In: Hydrobiologia. Springer: The Hague. ISSN 0018-8158, more
Peer reviewed article  

Also published as
  • Relini, G.; Relini, M.; Palandri, G.; Merello, S.; Beccornia, E. (2007). History, ecology and trends for artificial reefs of the Ligurian sea, Italy, in: Relini, G. et al. (Ed.) Biodiversity in Enclosed Seas and Artificial Marine Habitats: Proceedings of the 39th European Marine Biology Symposium, held in Genoa, Italy, 21-24 July 2004. Developments in Hydrobiology, 193: pp. 193-217, more

Available in Authors 
Document type: Conference paper

    Artificial habitats; Benthos; Biomass; Fishes; MED, Ligurian Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Relini, G.
  • Relini, M.
  • Palandri, G.
  • Merello, S.
  • Beccornia, E.

    From 1970 to the present 10 artificial reef sites have been developed in coastal waters of the Ligurian Sea, Italy. They range from Ventimiglia, in the west, to La Spezia, in the east, with the largest and best known reef complex being located in the Gulf of Genoa at Loano and consisting of 2,745 m3, about 5,200 t of material and covering a surface of 350 ha. Design and construction practices have advanced from an initial, unsuccessful effort that used automobile bodies (now banned) to current use of custom-designed concrete modules deployed systematically. Funding for reef construction has come since 1983. The earliest aim of reefs was as a physical barrier to protect habitats against illegal otter trawl fishing. Newer objectives include habitat restoration, enhancement of biodiversity and fishing catch, and research to test materials and designs for physical and ecological performance. Reefs also functions as environmental observation stations, with the invasive species Caulerpa taxifolia (Vahl) C. Agardh, being recorded on the reef at Alassio. For some Artificial Reefs (Ars), benthic organisms and fishes, settlement, biomass and development of community are recorded. In Loano AR, immersed in 1986, more than 150 algae species are recorded, more than 200 benthic animal species and 78 species (87 taxa) of fishes. Fifty-six species (61 taxa) of fishes are recorded by visual census, the others are caught only by trammel net and long line. Trammel catches at Loano are on average about 2.32 kg/100 m net. Comparisons among ARs reveal that age of the reef, location and presence of seagrass meadows are crucial for success. An indication of functional equivalence between ARs and natural rocky reefs is seen if both fish and sessile macrobenthos are compared. After 34 years of investigation a database comprising at least one hundred scientific articles based on research programs of up to 15 years, and other unpublished reports, provides information to guide future planning of reefs. On the basis of acquired experience, some management advice is suggested and the best design for the basic module in the Ligurian sea is described. The role of ARs, providing protection of coastal environment against the illegal otter trawling, nursery, microhabitat and food supply, while increasing biodiversity, biomass of benthos and fishes, and facilities for ecotourism, is outlined.

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