Macroalgal vegetation on a north European artificial reef (Loch Linnhe, Scotland): biodiversity, community types and role of abiotic factors

Konstantinos Tsiamis, Maria Salomidi, Vasilis Gerakaris, Andrew O.M. Mogg, Elizabeth S. Porter, Martin D.J. Sayer, Frithjof Kuepper* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
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Very little is known about the marine macroalgae of artificial reefs—especially in the North Atlantic—despite the growing number and extent of man-made structures in the sea, and even though seaweed communities have paramount importance as primary producers, but also as feeding, reproductive and nursery grounds in coastal ecosystems. This paper explores the macroalgal diversity of a large system of artificial reefs in Loch Linnhe, on the west coast of Scotland, in a quantitative and qualitative study based on diving surveys and correlates the observations with the prevalent abiotic factors. The study was conducted in order to test the hypothesis that artificial reefs can enhance seaweed habitats—in particular, for kelps—and that there is a clear correlation with substrate type. While the reef is home to a large range of biota and abundance of early-successional species of turf and bushy macroalgae, totalling 56 taxa and with Delesseria sanguinea as the dominant species, canopy-forming perennial kelp species are conspicuously relatively rare. Macroalgal vegetation is explored in correlation with reef geometry/geography and depth. Statistical analysis shows benthic communities were strongly affected by substrate type, with turf algae and invertebrates dominating the artificial reefs, while bushy algae dominate the natural ones. Common macroinvertebrates associated with the phytobenthic communities are assessed qualitatively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1353-1363
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
Issue number2
Early online date3 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Open Access via the Springer Compact Agreement
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank the dive team of the UK National Facility for Scientific Diving (NFSD), namely Elaine Azzopardi and Hugh Brown, as well as Norman Smith, skipper of the RV Seol Mara, for their diving and logistics support during the fieldwork for this study in July 2014.

Funding information: This study received support from the European Community research infrastructure action under the FP7 ‘capacities’specific program ASSEMBLE (grant no. 227788). Also, the MASTS pooling initiative (Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland, funded by the Scottish Funding Council and contributing institutions; grant reference HR09011) supported FCK and the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funded NFSD. Funding for the construction of the artificial reefs was provided kindly by Foster Yeoman


  • artificial reef
  • delesseria
  • laminaria
  • Phytobenthic communities
  • seaweeds
  • turf algae
  • Turf algae
  • Laminaria
  • Delesseria
  • Artificial reef
  • Seaweeds
  • KELP


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