Restoring Intertidal Boulder-Fields as Habitat for “Specialist” and “Generalist” Animals


  • M. Gee Chapman

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Research on Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities, School of Biological Sciences, A11, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
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Restoration is important in urban areas where habitat destruction is greatest. It incorporates many levels of intervention, with creation of new habitat the most extreme form. Most research on habitat creation has been terrestrial, or in marine habitats dominated by large structuring biota, such as mangroves. Intertidal boulder-fields in urban areas are vulnerable to disturbances and habitat loss, which adversely affect numerous habitat specialists. This study describes experiments in which quarried stones were used to create new habitat outside natural boulder-fields as a practical approach to restoring habitat. Colonization by specialist fauna and by common algae and invertebrates was measured for a year after deployment. Despite sessile assemblages on new boulders differing from those on natural boulders, common and rare animals rapidly colonized the new habitat. There was no clear succession, but colonization was variable and patchy at all scales examined, although diversities and abundances of some species in this novel habitat matched those of natural boulders within a few months. Rare and common animals generally colonized the new habitat as adults moving in from surrounding areas. Creating new boulder-fields using quarried rocks is a successful approach to restoration and conservation of fauna where natural boulder-fields are threatened.