|Integrated coastal zone management in the French Mediterranean: A large-scale Artificial Reefs programme in the Bay of Marseille |
Conference: World Conference on Marine biodiversity (Aberdeen, GB, 2011-09-26)
With ca. 27.000m 3 of submerged structures by 25-30m depth, the “PRADO REEFS” programme initiated in 2008 in the bay of Marseille, is one of the largest artificial reefs complex in Europe. Structures were established close to Posidonia oceanica meadows, a highly productive ecosystem, heavily impacted in this urban area. This 6M€ programme has emerged after concertation with all stakeholders. One innovative aspect of this reef complex is its organization in interconnected “villages” composed of reefs with six different designs (shape, size and materials) built under the supervision of marine biologists. Artificial reefs form a complex ecosystem with interconnected biotic compartments where organic material is produced and exported to surrounding ecosystems. In 2009, a scientific monitoring was implemented to understand how colonization processes operate in three main biological components - sessile benthic invertebrates and algae, small and large mobile benthic and pelagic fauna-, and how these artificial reefs function. First results on colonization dynamics are presented, together with a description of the original research methods deployed in this programme. These include the evaluation of trophic production and export by reefs, genetic tracking of colonisers, and the deployment of experimental devices.