Boulder reefs as spawning and nursery areas for fish (RevFisk) (39144)

Project Details


The project aimed to build knowledge about marine boulder reefs and their biological function for fish as spawning and nursery areas.

The field work was conducted on a stone reef, Hatter Barn at two depths 6-12 m and 13-17 m. These two depths were chosen to provide information on fauna and flora in the upper photic zone and a deeper zone. The dominant fish were labrids, which also spawned in the area and juvenile cod. Acoustic tagged cod provided information on their presence around the reef. Many exhibited a diurnal rhythm, concentrating on the reef during nighttime, although some cod were stationary on the reef the whole time. The deeper reef was more frequently visited (fourfold) by cod than the shallower reef.

Experimental work conducted at the Blue Planet aquarium revealed that corkwing wrasse are highly territorial and able to prevent juvenile cod from occupying their crevices. Goldsinny wrasse showed little interaction with cod and generally utilized very small crevices. Both labrids and cod utilized shelter from current flows provided by the structures and cod were often seen in high concentrations near the bottom where the current flows were laminar.

The results are useful for further developing models that quantify boulder reefs impact on fish (larvae, juvenile, adult) as a function of the reefs condition, size and depth location. The results are useful in helping plan and design the restoration of destroyed boulder reefs but also to manage existing boulder reefs.

The project was coordinated by DTU Aqua and funded by the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and the European Fisheries Fund (EFF).

Research area: Coastal Ecology
Research area: Marine Living Resources
Research area: Oceanography
Effective start/end date01/12/201301/02/2015


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