Reefs in their simplest form are composed of rock, coral or sand and are made through an abiotic, biotic, or man-made process. Much like canyons, most reefs are made through an abiotic process. They are naturally made from deposition and erosion caused by waves and other environmental factors. Some of the most popular forms of reefs are coral reefs which are created through a biotic, not to be confused with abiotic, process. Coral reefs are located in tropical waters and are developed through the infestation of coral and calcareous algae along the edges of reefs, atolls, and islands. There are also artificial reefs which are man-made and used enhance the physical complexity of a featureless sea bottom. Artificial reefs attract a diverse collection of organisms, especially fish.
The construction of reefs has been in practice for thousands of years. The Ancient Persians used artificial reefs to block the mouth of the Tigris River to restrain the Indian pirates. They were also in use during the 17th century by the Japanese in order to increase fish yield and aid in the growth of kelp. The earliest artificial reef in the United States was recorded in the 1830’s when American fisherman placed logs off the cost of South Carolina to improve fishing. Since then, South Carolina has been known as the pioneering state for artificial reefs because according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, they view the reefs as a “long-term investment…since man-made reefs constructed today can still be in place and fully functional easily through the next century”.
3.0 TYPES OF ARTIFICIAL REEFS
3.1 Biotic Reef
As mentioned before, coral reefs are the most massive and widely distributed type of biotic reef. Coral plays a vital role in the framework of coral reef, but it calcareous algae that allows for reef growth. Much like any reef, a biotic reef faces abiotic environmental factors of deposition and erosion. Fortunately calcareous alga protects the reef from constant wave bashing, allowing the growth of adapting organisms and more species of coralline algae.
3.2 Artificial Reef
Unlike abiotic and biotic reefs, artificial reefs are not directly created by aquatic organisms such as algae and coral. Artificial reefs simply put are man-made underwater structures; they provide many advantages such as promoting marine life in featureless sea bottoms, control erosion and attract the general public for recreational activities (fishing, surfing and diving). Many artificial reefs are built from objects that were originally meant for other purposes. Retired ships, oil rigs, rubble and construction debris are common items that are used to construct artificial reefs along coasts all over the world. Smaller artificial reefs can also be made from any non-toxic items such as from concrete, plastic or scrap metal. Regardless of the method used to construct the artificial reef, the object provides a hard surface...