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Astruch Patrick, Lucken Alice, Schohn Thomas, Rouanet Elodie, Le Diréach Laurence, Javel Fabrice, Blin Eric, Belmont-Puissant Candice, Bouchoucha Marc
Ports and marinas occupy an increasing part of the world’s coastline. That’s why the mitigation of their impacts has become during the last decades a major issue in coastal marine ecology. Today, many harbour managers aim to improve water quality and many works support the idea that their “grey” structures can be modified structurally to increase their quality as a nursery for juvenile fish. It would allow the contributing to the maintenance of populations while ensuring their primary functions. This has been achieved through myriad techniques, including manipulating building materials or pegging complex artificial microstructures. Here, we explored the efficiency of biomimetic micro-structures called ReFISH® and inspired by seagrass meadows. The study was conducted in 2017 within the marina of Bormes-les-Mimosas (French Riviera, France). An underwater visual sensus monitoring was conducted inside the marina on ReFISH equipped and bare docks and outside on two natural habitats (P. oceanica meadow and rocky reef). Fish juvenile densities and taxonomic richness were higher on ReFISH than on control and natural sites. Juveniles fish assemblages and behaviour changed over time according to biologic preferences of species (settlement, recruitment). This suggests that fish species can adapt their behaviour to artificial habitats especially when they mimic natural habitats features. Therefore increasing the use of ReFISH in marinas can considerably enhance their suitability for juvenile fishes. We argue here for a consideration of the whole harbour configuration for further ecological restoration program using an ecosystem-based approach.
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