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Performance of innovative materials as recruitment substrates for coral restoration

Abstract : Artificial reefs and, more recently, ecoengineering are frequently advocated as possible tools to counteract the loss of tropical coral reefs worldwide. Despite increasing availability of novel materials, there is limited understanding of how different materials and their physical and chemical properties can influence coral recruitment success and early benthic community development. This study investigated the efficacy of several innovative materials as recruitment substrates for corals and other sessile benthic communities. Stacks of vertically oriented tiles made of eight innovative materials and two common (control) materials were deployed for 6 months during major coral spawning events on the forereef of Mo'orea, French Polynesia. Tiles were separated from their neighbors by 15 mm to mimic cryptic habitats that are sheltered from predation and typically favored by coral recruits. Six innovative materials, including 3D printed concrete, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with chitosan coating, fiberglass polymer, and flax-based polylactic acid, produced similar coral recruitment to control materials (Portland concrete and PVC). Two materials (porous concrete and ceramic foam) produced lower recruitment. Porous concrete was characterized by a high abundance of non-coralline encrusting red algae, which negatively correlated with coral recruitment, while ceramic foam was prone to erosion. The results suggest the structural micro-complexity and durability of an artificial material and the composition of the benthic communities colonizing it can strongly influence coral recruitment. This study highlights several innovative materials as suitable recruitment substrates for coral restoration and provides a better understanding of the properties of artificial materials that are critical for coral recruitment success.
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https://hal-univ-perp.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03839160
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Submitted on : Friday, November 4, 2022 - 10:18:48 AM
Last modification on : Saturday, November 5, 2022 - 3:57:48 AM

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Camille Leonard, Laetitia Hédouin, Margaux Lacorne, Julien Dalle, Matthieu Lapinski, et al.. Performance of innovative materials as recruitment substrates for coral restoration. Restoration Ecology, 2022, 30 (7), ⟨10.1111/rec.13625⟩. ⟨hal-03839160⟩

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