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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Artificial reefs provide zooplanktivorous fishes with habitat (bounded by the dashed line), allowing them to safely access the zooplankton supply that drives their production. Diagram: C. Champion.

Champion C, Suthers IM, Smith JA


Zooplanktivory is a key process for fish production on a coastal artificial reef


Artificial reefs have become popular fishery enhancement tools, but to be effective they should support fish production. Champion and co-workers show that the trophic pathway between zooplankton and resident zooplanktivorous fishes is a reliable mechanism for fish production on an artificial reef. The influence of reef size on this pathway is modelled to investigate how zooplanktivorous fish density can be maximised while avoiding food limitation. This model shows that the available supply of zooplankton declines exponentially with increasing reef size, and suggests that intermediate-sized reefs best maximize fish density while avoiding food limitation. Ways to facilitate the consumption of zooplankton by resident fishes should be considered when planning future reefs, including exposure to currents and the manipulation of reef size.


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