Comparison of fish assemblages in restored and natural mangrove habitats along an urban shoreline


The installation of living shorelines is one strategy used to ameliorate habitat degradation along developed coastlines. In this process, existing hard structures, such as sea walls and riprap evetments, are supplemented with habitat forming species, e.g., oysters and mangrove trees, to improve habitat quality and function. Shoreline restorations in Biscayne Bay, Florida, USA, often utilize red mangroves, Rhizophora mangle (Linneaus, 1753), in addition to riprap revetments, to help stabilize the shoreline. This riprap-mangrove habitat provides structure for marine organisms to utilize and is believed to improve shoreline habitats in areas previously cleared of mangroves. We examined whether habitat provisioning was similar between restored mangrove habitat with the inclusion of riprap boulders and natural mangrove shorelines. We compared fish assemblages between natural mangrove and riprapmangrove habitats within two areas of northern Biscayne Bay. Fish community structure and certain benthic cover types varied between mangroves and riprap-mangrove habitats. Total fish abundance was greater in mangrove habitat, while taxonomic richness was highest in riprap-mangrove sites in the northern part of the bay. Our findings suggest that fish assemblages and community structure are different between these habitat types, although the geographic context may mediate the effect of habitat type. Therefore, it is likely that these restored mangroves provide different ecological services than unaltered mangrove shorelines.

Publication Type
Journal Article
Joseph R. Peters
Craig A. Layman
Bulletin of Marine Science

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