Potential use of marinas as nursery grounds by rocky fishes: insights from four Diplodus species in the Mediterranean

The construction of marinas along the shoreline has caused substantial habitat destruction within the sheltered coastal areas previously used as nursery grounds by many fish species. However, although the negative ecological impacts of these constructions have been reported extensively, their potential roles in the functioning of the coastal zone remain largely unknown. Here, we surveyed the juveniles of 4 Diplodus species in 5 marinas located along the French Mediterranean coast to assess whether rocky fishes can successfully settle inside these artificialized coastal areas. Inter-specific differences in the spatiotemporal use of the various artificial habitats provided by marinas were investigated between April and August over 2 consecutive years. We also tested the potential benefit of pegging additional artificial habitats (Biohuts) on docks and pontoons to increase their value as fish nursery grounds. Our results suggest that although variations in marina and artificial habitat preferences exist between species, Diplodus juveniles repeatedly colonize marinas. Their average abundances on added Biohut habitats were twice as high as on nearby bare surfaces. This suggests that increasing the complexity of the vertical structures of marinas can considerably enhance their suitability for juvenile rocky fishes, especially at the youngest stages, when mortality is highest. Therefore, as long as marina water quality is well controlled, ecological engineering within these man-made habitats might reduce the ecological consequences of urban development by providing suitable alternative artificial nursery grounds for rocky fishes.


Coastal areas, Habitat anthropization, Fish juveniles, Sparids, Habitat preferences, Ecological engineering, Biohut

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Bouchoucha Marc, Darnaude A. M., Gudefin A., Neveu R., Verdoit-Jarraya M., Boissery P., Lenfant P. (2016). Potential use of marinas as nursery grounds by rocky fishes: insights from four Diplodus species in the Mediterranean. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 547. 193-209. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11641, https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00334/44501/

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