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Constructing a Reef

Artificial Reefs are essentially made of durable, stable and environmentally safe materials (usually steel or concrete) placed on an area of ocean bottom conducive to reef building plants and animals. Once the material is in place, it acts in the same way that naturally occurring rock outcroppings do by providing the hard surface needed for reef-building organisms like barnacles, corals, sponges and clams to begin their creation.

These organisms create the foundation of the marine food web and mature artificial reefs provide food and shelter to over-harvested fish populations, which help provide a home to the multitudes of organisms that have adapted to life on coral reefs. They eventually colonize and inhabit almost every square inch of these man-made structures, providing nearly all the same habitat benefits as naturally occurring reef habitats.

Our tourism industry derives significant benefits from artificial reefs. Miami-Dade County has become world renown as a wreck-diver’s paradise. The variety of materials used along with the fantastic diversity of marine life that inhabits our artificial reefs has spawned a diving industry specializing in artificial reef dives. These artificial reefs attract fishers and divers who enjoy the same experience as they would at a natural reef, while deflecting the pressure of human interaction with the natural reef system.

Because reefs are one of the most biologically rich ecosystems in the world, they are highly regarded by some biologists for their potential, undiscovered biomedical resources. Reefs here in South Florida are most important for their role of protecting our coastal communities from storms, wave damage, and erosion by decreasing the speed of wave action. These are just a few reasons why reefs are so vital to our future.

Back to Top Page Last Edited: Mon May 20, 2013 2:07:42 PM

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