Trophic structures of artificial reef communities off the southern coast of the Korean peninsula as determined using stable isotope analyses
Hee Yoon Kang, Byeong-Gweon Lee, Hyun Je Park, Sung-Gyu Yun, Chang-Keun Kang
Marine Pollution Bulletin 169 (2021) 112474, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2021.112474
The deployment of artificial reefs (ARs) has become a popular technique for creating new hard-bottom habitats, and for enhancing biodiversity and resource abundance for fisheries. We compared colonizing faunal assemblages and reef-associated food-web structures between ARs and nearby natural reefs (NRs) off the Korean coast using stable isotope techniques. Reef communities showed high compositional disparities in colonizing assemblages. Distinct δ13C and δ15N ranges of functional groups could be used to distinguish pelagic from benthic trophic pathways in the reef food web. The isotopic niches of entire faunal assemblages, as well as individual functional groups, overlapped between NRs and ARs, resulting in equivalency for the isotopic functional indices. Mixing model estimates for carnivorous invertebrates and fish suggested strong trophic links to reef-associated faunal prey at both reef types. Finally, these results highlight a convergence in trophic structure between ARs and NRs in accordance with functional diversity in the colonized faunal assemblages.