Artificial reefs facilitate tropical fish at their range edge

For the week of 20 May 2019

Greetings OpenChannels Community Members,

Communications Biology has published, Artificial reefs facilitate tropical fish at their range edge.

Abstract: Spatial planning increasingly incorporates theoretical predictions that artificial habitats assist species movement at or beyond range edges, yet evidence for this is uncommon. We conducted surveys of highly mobile fauna (fishes) on artificial habitats (reefs) on the southeastern USA continental shelf to test whether, in comparison to natural reefs, artificial reefs enhance local abundance and biomass of fishes at their poleward range margins. Here, we show that while temperate fishes were more abundant on natural reefs, tropical, and subtropical fishes exhibited higher abundances and biomasses on deep (25–35 m) artificial reefs. Further analyses reveal that this effect depended on feeding guilds because planktivorous and piscivorous but not herbivorous fishes were more abundant on artificial reefs. This is potentially due to heightened prey availability on and structural complexity of artificial reefs. Our findings demonstrate that artificial habitats can facilitate highly mobile species at range edges and suggest these habitats assist poleward species movement.

As always, if we've missed anything, please feel free to let us know. You may simply reply to this message, or you may email Allie directly at: abrown [at]

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Additionally, you can browse literature by the week we've added it at

Thank you for being part of the OpenChannels Community,
– Allie Brown, Raye Evrard, and the rest of the OpenChannels Team


OA: Trathan, P. N. et al. Managing fishery development in sensitive ecosystems: identifying penguin habitat use to direct management in AntarcticaEcosphere 9, e02392 (2018).

Climate Change, Ocean Acidification, and Ocean Warming

OA: Saba, G. K. et al. Recommended priorities for research on ecological impacts of ocean and coastal acidification in the U.S. Mid-AtlanticEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science (In Press). doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2019.04.022

Coastal and Offshore Energy

OA: Best, B. D. & Halpin, P. N. Minimizing wildlife impacts for offshore wind energy development: Winning tradeoffs for seabirds in space and cetaceans in timePLOS ONE 14, e0215722 (2019).


OA: Morikawa, M. K. & Palumbi, S. R. Using naturally occurring climate resilient corals to construct bleaching-resistant nurseriesProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 201721415 (2019). doi:10.1073/pnas.1721415116

Fisheries and Fisheries Management

OA: Steiner, N. S. et al. Impacts of the Changing Ocean-Sea Ice System on the Key Forage Fish Arctic Cod (Boreogadus Saida) and Subsistence Fisheries in the Western Canadian Arctic—Evaluating Linked Climate, Ecosystem and Economic (CEE) ModelsFrontiers in Marine Science 6, (2019).

Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)

OA: Paxton, A. B. et al. Artificial reefs facilitate tropical fish at their range edgeCommunications Biology 2, (2019).


OA: Barth, J. A. et al. Better Regional Ocean Observing Through Cross-National Cooperation: A Case Study From the Northeast PacificFrontiers in Marine Science 6, (2019).

Natural Sciences

Preprint: Bouchet, P. J. et al. Better Model Transfers Require Knowledge of MechanismsTrends in Ecology & Evolution (2019). 


OA: Williams, S. L. et al. Large-scale coral reef rehabilitation after blast fishing in IndonesiaRestoration Ecology 27, 447 - 456 (2019).

Sea-level Rise, Coastal Flooding, and Storm Events

OA: Hijuelos, A. Commagere et al. Linking management planning for coastal wetlands to potential future wave attenuation under a range of relative sea-level rise scenariosPLOS ONE 14, e0216695 (2019).