Vertical artificial structures as an alternative habitat for coral reef fishes in disturbed environments

G. Rilov, Y. Benayahu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The coral reefs of Eilat (Red Sea) have been heavily damaged as a result of extensive tourist activity. Artificial reefs have been demonstrated to be a potential tool for the restoration of marine habitats. We investigated the fish assemblage on pillars supporting the oil jetties in Eilat, studying the species composition on these vertical structures; and the relationships between fish community features and the structural characteristics of these artificial reefs over time, using multivariate regression analysis. The fish assemblage on these 25-year-old structures was shown to be abundant and diverse, comprising 146 species, distributed among 35 families. The 10 most abundant species were planktivores, accounting for 78% of all individuals; the most numerous fish was Neopomacentrus miryae (Pomacentridae). Size and complexity of pillars were correlated with fish abundance, richness and diversity, and related to the availability of shelters. These community indices increased near the bottom, possibly due to behavioral preferences. High coefficient of variance (CV) values indicated high temporal variability, resulting from a pronounced recruitment of N. miryae and other common species during April 1993. We discuss the possible use of these artificial reefs as a model for the construction of artificial habitats aimed at the rehabilitation of fish assemblages in deteriorating natural coral reef areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-451
Number of pages21
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - May 1998
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the Israeli Diving Federation for a grant funding part of this research.W e acknowledget he Eilat-Ashquelon Pipe Line authoritiesf or allowing the research,t he InteruniversityI nstitute of Eilat for assistancea nd use of facilities, and MenahemG oren for usefulg uidelinesW. e thank Denis Goulet and DeniseB reitburgw ho suppliedc onstructivec riticismf or the first draft of this paper,a nd significantlyim proved it. We also thank the anonymousr eviewersfo r their suggestionosn the final versiono f the manuscript.S pecialt hanksto G. Nissel, I. Nehoran, N. Shiloah, R. Ben-David-Zaslow, and many othersf or helpful diving assistanceT. his paper forms part of an M.Sc. thesis submittedb y G.R.


  • Artificial reefs
  • Coral reef
  • Fish community
  • Recruitment
  • Red Sea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


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