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Evidence on the ecological and physical effects of built structures in shallow, tropical coral reefs: A systematic map

May 14, 2024

Shallow, tropical coral reefs face compounding threats from climate change, habitat degradation due to coastal development and pollution, impacts from storms and sea-level rise, and pulse disturbances like blast fishing, mining, dredging, and ship groundings that reduce reef height and complexity. One approach toward restoring coral reef physical structure from such impacts is deploying built structures of artificial, natural, or hybrid (both artificial and natural) origin. Built structures range from designed modules and repurposed materials to underwater sculptures and intentionally placed natural rocks. Restoration practitioners and coastal managers increasingly consider incorporating – and in many cases have already begun to incorporate – built structures into coral reef-related applications, yet synthesized evidence on the ecological (coral-related; e.g., coral growth, coral survival) and physical performance of built structures in coral ecosystems across a variety of contexts (e.g., restoration, coastal protection, mitigation, tourism) is not readily available to guide decisions. To help fill this gap and inform management decisions, we systematically mapped the global distribution and abundance of published evidence on the ecological (coral-related) and physical performance of built structure interventions in shallow (≤ 30 m), tropical (35°N to 35°S) coral ecosystems.

Publication Year 2024
Title Evidence on the ecological and physical effects of built structures in shallow, tropical coral reefs: A systematic map
DOI 10.1186/s13750-024-00336-3
Authors Avery Paxton, Iris Foxfoot, Christina Cutshaw, D'amy Steward, Leanne Poussard, Trevor Riley, Todd Swannack, Candice Piercy, Safra Altman, Brandon Puckett, Curt Storlazzi, Shay Viehman
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Evidence
Index ID 70254363
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center