Development of a marine subtidal epibiotic community in Hong Kong: Implications for deployment of artificial reefs

Jianwen Qiu, Vengatesen Thiyagarajan, Albert W.Y. Leung, Pei Yuan Qian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


A 2-year study was conducted in Hong Kong to examine the effects of substratum, season and length of submersion on the development of a subtidal epibiotic community using four types of settlement panels (concrete, steel, wood and tyre). The season and length of submersion had a strong influence on the total biomass and on community structure while the type of substratum had very little impact on the total biomass or the structure of the epibiotic community. The season of submersion determined the species composition of the newly submerged surfaces. In the spring and summer, tubeworms were the most abundant. In the autumn and winter, barnacles and tunicates dominated. Community succession was not obvious in the first year of submersion as it was intermingled with strong seasonal settlement, growth and death of barnacles and tunicates. In the second year of submersion, green mussels and tunicates settled and grew to occupy most of the panel surfaces, forming an assemblage that was characteristic of climax communities in the local subtidal waters. The results suggest that the type of construction material has limited impact on the development of epibiotic communities on artificial reefs deployed in Hong Kong; the season of submersion may affect community structure in the early successional stage, but not the characteristics of the climax communities. This study indicates that the type of substratum should not be of concern when deploying artificial reefs in the subtidal waters in this region. The design of artificial reefs should focus more on other physical and economical aspects such as durability, flow dynamics, stability, cost, and effects on the ambient environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Water Science and Technology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Artificial reef
  • Biomass
  • Epibiotic community
  • Recruitment
  • Succession


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