On a few seawalls in England, scientists built 45 artificial rockpools, and 65 aquatic species now call them home.
Artificial Rockpools on the Seawalls of England
Sea life has succefully found the artificial rockpools that have been created in Bournemouth and the Isle of Wight, which they now call home.
Artificial rockpools in south of England successfully attract sea creatures https://t.co/FyzIN2G8Wj
— The Guardian (@guardian) May 11, 2023
Scientists have applauded the discovery and stated that the false crevices can be added to sea defenses and other man-made coastline constructions to provide habitats for various sea life such as crabs, mollusks, barnacles, small fish, sea squirts, and seaweed.
In 2020, Bournemouth University researchers set up 114 man-made rockpools across three sites. Each one is shaped like a standard bathroom sink.
65 Aquatic Species
Researchers have been keeping an eye on the species that utilize the pools and contrasting them with animals that use a seawall. On a seawall at Sandbanks, 45 man-made rockpools were used by 65 distinct species, including the endangered native oyster Ostrea edulis. In contrast, 40 species were discovered in the harbor wall’s cracks and fissures.
According to EcoWatch, the endangered Ostrea edulis is a significant discovery since it is threatened by infections, fisheries, and habitat destruction.
A vast number of coastal and offshore O. Edulis beds were present in the waters off the coastlines of northwestern Europe, however, they most likely did not constitute a continuous zone. As per the OSPAR Assessment Portal, they have deteriorated or have largely been lost since.
According to Jess Bone, a Ph.D. candidate at Bournemouth University, as coastlines grow, marine creatures are losing their natural habitats to sea defenses that are more difficult to colonize. Additionally aggravating the issue, sea level rise is forcing their habitats into ever-tinier places. The team intended to determine whether providing them with extra rockpools could act as a lifeline for them in the face of current challenges.
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Rockpools and Low Tide
Because they hold water during low tide, rockpools are crucial habitats for little marine life. Fish use them as nurseries because they offer refuge and food. When the tide recedes, mobile animals like fish and prawns can stay submerged safely.
During high tide, bass, a species significant to the local fishing economy, were also spotted exploring the pools.
Bone said that the research team discovered that squishy species, such as sponges and sea squirts, that would dry up on the seawall and not live, took refuge in the rockpools at low tide. Similarly, they supported fragile organisms that would otherwise not live on the seawall, such as bryozoans and certain finer algae.
The scientists expressed their hope that more man-made rockpools would be created in the future to aid in the survival of nature in urban settings.
According to Bone, this study has demonstrated how rockpools may ensure that wildlife can persist in urban coastal areas. They also allow locals an opportunity to get in touch with nature and learn more about the variety of species that can be found right off the harbor’s edge and how it helps to protect the environment, The Guardian reports.
According to EcoWatch, the Marine Infrastructure Effects or the Marineff project, which is funded by the EU, includes the creation of artificial rockpools. The goal of the project is to identify strategies for protecting and enhancing coastal ecosystems in the face of expanding coastal development.
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