Habitat enhancing marine structures: Creating habitat in urban waters

Karen, Dyson (2010) Habitat enhancing marine structures: Creating habitat in urban waters. In: Shifting Shorelines: Adapting to the Future,The 22nd International Conference of The Coastal Society , June 13-16, 2010 ,Wilmington, North Carolina,

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Abstract

Although maritime regions support a large portion of the world’s human population, their value as habitat for other species is overlooked. Urban structures that are built in the marine environment are not designed or managed for the habitat they provide, and are built without considering the communities of marine organisms that could colonize them (Clynick et al., 2008). However, the urban waterfront may be capable of supporting a significant proportion of regional aquatic biodiversity (Duffy-Anderson et al., 2003). While urban shorelines will never return to their original condition, some scientists think that the habitat quality of urban waterfronts could be significantly improved through further research and some design modifications, and that many opportunities exist to make these modifications (Russel et al., 1983, Goff, 2008). Habitat enhancing marine structures (or HEMS) are a potentially promising approach to address the impact of cities on marine organisms including habitat fragmentation and degradation. HEMS are a type of habitat improvement project that are ecologically engineered to improve the habitat quality of urban marine structures such as bulkheads and docks for marine organisms. More specifically, HEMS attempt to improve or enhance the physical habitat that organisms depend on for survival in the inter- and sub-tidal waterfronts of densely populated areas. HEMS projects are targeted at areas where human-made structures cannot be significantly altered or removed. While these techniques can be used in suburban or rural areas restoration or removal is preferred in these settings, and HEMS are resorted to only if removal of the human-made structure is not an option. Recent research supports the use of HEMS projects. Researchers have examined the communities found on urban structures including docks, bulkheads, and breakwaters. Complete community shifts have been observed where the natural shoreline was sandy, silty, or muddy. There is also evidence of declines in community composition, ecosystem functioning, and increases in non-native species abundances in assemblages on urban marine structures. Researchers have identified two key differences between these substrates including the slope (seawalls are vertical; rocky shores contain multiple slopes) and microhabitat availability (seawalls have very little; rocky shores contain many different types). In response, researchers have suggested designing and building seawalls with gentler slopes or a combination of horizontal and vertical surfaces. Researchers have also suggested incorporating microhabitat, including cavities designed to retain water during low tide, crevices, and other analogous features (Chapman, 2003; Moreira et al., 2006) (PDF contains 4 pages)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Title: Habitat enhancing marine structures: Creating habitat in urban waters
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Karen, DysonKarenLDyson@gmail.com
Date: 2010
Funders: National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. EPA Coastal Management Branch, U.S. Geolgocial Survey, NOAA Sea Grant
Event Title: Shifting Shorelines: Adapting to the Future,The 22nd International Conference of The Coastal Society
Event Type: Conference
Event Location: Wilmington, North Carolina
Event Dates: June 13-16, 2010
Issuing Agency: The Coastal Society
Uncontrolled Keywords: TCS22
Subjects: Ecology
Conservation
Planning
Item ID: 3900
Depositing User: Cynthia Murray
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2010 21:42
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 16:48
Related URLs:
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/3900

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