Scientia Marina, Vol 71, No 2 (2007)

Vertical diel dynamic of fish assemblage associated with an artificial reef (Northern Adriatic Sea)

Antonello Sala
National Research Council, Institute of Marine Sciences, Marine Fisheries Section (CNR-ISMAR) , Italy

Gianna Fabi
National Research Council, Institute of Marine Sciences, Marine Fisheries Section (CNR-ISMAR) , Italy

Sarine Manoukian
National Research Council, Institute of Marine Sciences, Marine Fisheries Section (CNR-ISMAR) , Italy


The vertical diel activity of a fish assemblage inhabiting the Senigallia artificial reef (northern Adriatic Sea, Italy) was evaluated from July to November 1996 using enhanced hydroacoustic techniques. Extensive seabed mapping of the area was done using a multibeam echosounder to obtain background imagery of the reef structures and identify the most suitable locations for placing stationary acoustic transducers. Three acoustic transducers were placed inside the reef area, while a fourth was located in the open sea outside the area. Data analysis was conducted on three different depth layers: surface, midwater and bottom. In each layer, diel fish biomass inside the reef showed two peaks, one in the early morning and the other in the late evening. Slightly different behaviour was observed outside the protected area. Comparison of the layers showed that fish biomass was not homogeneously distributed along the water column throughout the sampling period. There were high values in the middle and bottom layers until the end of August. However, no significant biomass variations in time were observed outside the reef where low values were always recorded in each layer.


Adriatic Sea; artificial reef; fish biomass; multibeam sonar; split-beam hydroacoustic

Full Text:



Acosta, J., A. Muñoz, P. Herranz and C. Palomo. – 2001. Pockmarks in the Ibiza Channel and western end of the Balearic Promontory (western Mediterranean) revealed by multibeam mapping. Geo-Mar. Lett., 21: 123-130. doi:10.1007/s003670100074

Augustin, J.M., R. Le Suave, X. Lurton, M. Voisset, S. Dugelay and C. Satra. – 1996. Contribution of the multibeam acoustic imagery to the exploration of the sea-bottom. Mar. Geophys. Res., 18(2-4): 459-486. doi:10.1007/BF00286090

Beyer, A., R. Rathlau and H.W. Schenke. – 2005. Multibeam bathymetry of the Håkon Mosby Mud Volcano. Mar. Geophys. Res., 26: 61-75. doi:10.1007/s11001-005-1131-8

Bombace, G. – 1989. Les poissons recifaux. FAO Fish. Rep., 428: 84-85.

Bombace, G., G. Fabi, L. Fiorentini and A. Spagnolo. – 1997. Assessment of the ichthyofauna of an artificial reef through visual census and trammel net: comparison between the two sampling techniques. In: L.E. Hawckins and S. Hutchinson (eds.), The Responses of marine organisms to their environments, pp. 291-305. Southampton Oceanography Center, University of Southampton (UK).

Bombace, G., G. Fabi and L. Fiorentini. – 2000. Artificial reefs in the Adriatic sea. In: A. Jensen, K. Collins and A. Lockwood (eds.), Artificial Reefs in European Seas, pp. 31-63. Kluwer Academic Publ., Dordrecht (Netherlands).

Bortone, S.A. and J.J. Kimmel. – 1991. Environmental assessment and monitoring of artificial habitats. In: W. Seaman and L.M. Sprague (eds.), Artificial habitats for marine and freshwaters fisheries, pp. 177-236. Academic Press, Inc., San Diego (California).

Bortone, S.A. and K.J. Mille. – 1999. Data needs for assessing marine reserves with an emphasis on estimating fish size in situ. Naturalista Siciliano (Suppl.): 13-31.

Buckley, R.M., and G.J. Hueckel – 1985. Biological processes and ecological development on an artificial reef in Puget Sound, Washington. Bull. Mar. Sci., 37: 50-69.

Cauwenberghe, C Van. – 1996. Multibeam echosounder technology: a time series analysis of sand movement. The Hydrogr. J., 81: 13-18.

Chakraborty, B., R. Mukhopadhyay, P. Jauhari, V. Mahale, K. Shashikumar and M. Rajesh. – 2006. Fine-scale analysis of shelf-slope physiography across the western continental margin of India. Geo-Mar. Lett., 26: 114-119. doi:10.1007/s00367-006-0022-6

Charbonnel, E., P. Francour and J.G. Harmelin. – 1997. Finfish populations assessment techniques on artificial reefs: a review in the European Union. In: A.C. Jensen (eds.), European Artificial Reef Research. Proceedings of the 1st EARRN

Conference, Ancona (Italy), March 1996, pp. 261-277. Southampton Oceanography Center.

Clasper, P. – 1996. Aspects of QC in swathe bathymetry for pipeline route surveys. The Hydrogr. J., 79: 25-30.

Continental Shelf Associates. – 1982. Study of the effect of oil and gas activities on reef fish populations in Gulf of Mexico OCS area. OCS Report MMS 82-10. New Orleans, Louisiana. US Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf Region. 210 pp.

Conway, K.W., J.V. Barrie and M. Krautter. – 2005. Geomorphology of unique reefs on the western Canadian shelf: sponge reefs mapped by multibeam bathymetry. Geo-Mar. Lett., 25: 205-213. doi:10.1007/s00367-004-0204-z

Demartini, E.E., D.A. Roberts and T.W. Anderson. – 1989. Contrasting patterns of fish density and abundance at an artificial rock reef and a cobble-bottom kelp forest. Bull. Mar. Sci., 44: 881-892.

Dziak, R.P., C.G. Fox, A.M. Bobbit and C. Goldfinger. – 2001. Bathymetric map of the Gorda Plate: structural and geomorphological processes inferred from multibeam surveys. Mar. Geophys. Res., 22(4): 235-250. doi:10.1023/A:1014606407111

Fabi, G. and L. Fiorentini. – 1994. Comparison between an artificial reef and a control site in the Adriatic Sea: analysis of four years of monitoring. Bull. Mar. Sci., 55(2-3): 538-558.

Fabi, G., F. Grati, F. Luccarini and M. Panfili. – 1999a. Indicazioni per la gestione razionale di una barriera artificiale: studio dell’evoluzione del popolamento necto-bentonico. Biol. Mar. Medit., 6(1): 81-89.

Fabi, G., F. Luccarini, M. Panfili and A. Spagnolo. – 1999b. Valutazione dell’efficacia delle strutture artificiali nei mari italiani: studio del funzionamento del sistema barriere artificiali attraverso le reti trofiche. Report to the Ministry for Agricultural Politics, Fishery and Aquaculture Directorate.

Fabi, G., Sala, A. – 2002. An assessment of biomass and diel activity of fish at an artificial reef (Adriatic sea) using stationary hydroacoustic technique. ICES J. Mar. Sci., 59(2): 411-420. doi:10.1006/jmsc.2001.1173

Fabi G., S. Manoukian, A. Spagnolo. – 2006. Feeding behaviour of three common fishes at an artificial reef in the northern Adriatic sea. Bull. Mar. Sci., 78(1): 39-56.

Gerlotto, F., C. Bercy and B. Bordeau. – 1989. Echo integration survey around offshore oil extraction platforms off Cameroon: observations of the repulsive effect on fish of some artificially emitted sounds. Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics, 19: 79-88.

Grigg, R.W., E.E. Grossman, S.A. Earle, S.R. Gittings, D. Lott and J. McDonough. – 2002. Drowned reefs and antecedent karst topography, Au’au Channel, S.E. Hawaiian Islands. Coral Reefs, 21: 73-82.

Hansen, B.W. and R. Simonis. – 1994. Deep water pipe route mapping. Proc. Hydro ’94, Sept. – 1994, pp. 1-18. The Hydrogr. Soc., Aberdeen, Scotland (UK).

Harmelin-Vivien, M.L., J.G. Harmelin, C. Chauvet, C. Duval, R. Galzin, P. Lejeune, G. Barnabé, F. Blanc, R. Chevalier, J. Duclerc, and G. Lasserre. – 1985. Evaluation visuelle des peuplements et populations de poissons: Méthodes et problèmes. Revue d’Ecologie (Terre Vie), 40: 467-539.

Hovland, M., S. Vasshus, A. Indreeide, L. Austdal and Ø. Nilsen. – 2002. Mapping and imaging deep-sea coral reefs off Norway, 1982-2000. Hydrobiologia, 471: 13-17. doi:10.1023/A:1016576514754

Kammerer, E., J. Clarke, E. Hughes, J. Locat, N. Douchet and A. Godin. – 1998. Monitoring temporal changes in seabed morphology and composition using multibeam sonars; a case study of the 1996 Saguenary river floods. Proc. Can. Hydrogr. Conf., 10-12 March 1998, pp. 450-461. Canadian Hydrographic Association, Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada).

Knaapen, M.A.F., C.N. van Bergen Henegouw and Y.Y. Hu. – 2005. Quantifying bedform migration using multi-beam sonar. Geo-Mar. Lett., 25: 306-314. doi:10.1007/s00367-005-0005-z

Lawrence, M.J. and C.R. Bates. – 2001. Acoustic ground discrimination techniques for submerged archaeological site investigations. Mar. Tech. Soc. J., 35(4): 65-73.

MacLennan, D.N., C.E. Hollingworth and F. Armstrong. – 1989. Target Strength and the tilt angle distribution of caged fish. Proc. Inst. Acoustics, 11(3): 11-20.

MacLennan, D.N., A.E. Magurran, T.J. Pitcher and C.E. Hollingworth. – 1990. Behavioural determinants of fish Target Strength. Rapp. p.v. CIESM, 189: 245-253.

MacLennan, D.N. and E.J. Simmonds. – 1992. Fish. Acoustics. Chapman and Hall, London. 325 pp.

Mayer, L.A. and B. Kenneth. – 2001. Shallow Water Survey 2001: papers based on selected presentations from the Second International Conference on High Resolution Surveys in Shallow Water. Mar. Tech. Soc. J., 35(4): 3-4

Mayer, L.A., B.R. Calder, J. Schmidt and C. Malzone. – 2003. Providing the third dimension: high resolution multibeam sonar as a tool for archaeological investigations - an example from the D-Day beaches of Normandy. U.S. Hydrogr. Conf., Biloxi MS, 2003.

Mayer, L.A. – 2006. Frontiers in seafloor mapping and visualization. Mar. Geophys. Res., 27: 7-17. doi:10.1007/s11001-005-0267-x

Miller, R.J. and W. Hunte. – 1987. Effective area fished by antillean fish traps. Bull. Mar. Sci., 40: 484-493.

Mitchell, N.C. – 1996. Processing and analysis of Simrad multibeam sonar data. Mar. Geophys. Res., 18(6): 729-739. doi:10.1007/BF00313883

Mosher, D.C. and R.E. Thomson. – 2002. The Foreslope Hills: large-scale, fine-grained sediment waves in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia. Mar. Geol., 192: 275–295. doi:10.1016/S0025-3227(02)00559-5

Nakamura, M. – 1985. Evolution of artificial fishing reef concept in Japan. Bull. Mar. Sci., 37(1): 271-278.

Okamoto, M. – 1991. – Methods of estimating fish abundance around reefs. In: M. Nakamura, R.S. Grove, and C.J. Sonu (eds.), Japan-U.S. Symposium on Artificial Habitats for Fisheries Proceedings, pp. 105-114. Southern California Edison Company, Rosemead (California).

Orlowski, A. – 2000. Diel dynamics of acoustic measurements of Baltic fish. ICES J. Mar. Sci., 57: 1196-1203. doi:10.1006/jmsc.2000.0805

Paton, M., L. Mayer and C. Ware. – 1997. Interactive 3D tools for pipeline route planning. Proc. Oceans’97, October 1997, pp. 1216-1221. MTS/IEEE, Halifax, NS, Canada.

Popper, L.J., M.L. DiGiacomo-Cohen, S.M. Smith, H.F. Stewart and N.A. Forfinski. – 2006. Seafloor character and sedimentary processes in eastern Long Island Sound and western Block Island Sound. Geo-Mar. Lett., 26: 59-68. doi:10.1007/s00367-006-0016-4

Roberts, J.M., C.J. Brown, D. Long and C.R. Bates. – 2005. Acoustic mapping using a multibeam echosounder reveals cold-water coral reefs and surrounding habitats. Coral Reefs, 24: 654-669. doi:10.1007/s00338-005-0049-6

Ross, S.L., D.M. Boore, M.A. Fisher, A.D. Frankel, E.L. Geist, K.W. Hudnut, R.E. Kayen, H.J. Lee, W.R. Normark and F.L. Wong. – 2004. Comments on potential geologic and seismic affecting Coastal Ventura County, California. USGS Open-File Report 2001-1286.

Shaw, J., R.C. Courtney and J.R. Currie. – 1997. Marine geology of St. George’s Bay, Newfoundland, as interpreted from multibeam bathymetry and back-scatter data. Geo-Mar. Lett., 17: 188-194. doi:10.1007/s003670050025

Shyue, S.-W. – 1998. Preliminary study on the distribution of artificial reefs by using multibeam echo sounder. Proc. Oceans’98, October 1998, pp. 1144-1148. IEEE/OES, Nice, France.

Shyue, S-w and K-c Yang. – 2002. Investigating terrain changes around artificial reefs by using a multi-beam echosounder. ICES J. Mar. Sci., 59(S): 338-342.

Singh, H., J. Adams, D. Mindell, and B. Foley. – 2000. Imaging Underwater for Archaeology. J. Field Archaeology, 27(3): 319-328. doi:10.2307/530446

SIMRAD. – 1995. Simrad EY500 Portable Scientific Echo Sounder. Operator Manual. SIMRAD, Norway.

Snedecor, G.W. and W.G. Cochran. – 1967. Statistical methods. Iowa State University Press, Ames. 593 pp.

Somerton, D.A., B.S. Kihkaway and C.D. Wilson. – 1988. Hook times to measure the capture time of individual fish. Mar. Fish. Rev., 50: 1-5.

Soldal, A.V., I. Svellingen, T. Jørgensen and S. Løkkeborg. – 2002. Rigs-to-reefs in the North Sea: hydroacoustic quantification of fish in the vicinity of a “semi-cold“ platform. ICES J. Mar. Sci., 59(S): 281-287.

Stanley, D.R. and C.A. Wilson. – 1998. Spatial variation in fish density at three petroleum platforms as measured with dualbeam hydroacoustics. Gulf of Mexico Science, 1: 73-82.

Stanley, D.R., C.A. Wilson and C. Cain. – 1994. Hydroacustic assessment of abundance and behaviour of fishes associated with an oil and gas platform off the Louisiana coast. Bull. Mar. Sci., 55: 1353.

Thorne, R.E., J.B. Hedgepeth and J.A. Campos. – 1989. Hydroacoustic observations of fish abundance and behaviour around an artificial reef in Costa Rica. Bull. Mar. Sci., 44(2): 1058-1064.

Thorne, R.E., J.B. Hedgepeth and J.A. Campos. – 1990. The use of stationary hydroacoustic transducers to study diel and tidal influences of fish behaviour. Rapp. p.v. CIESM, 189: 167-175.

Thorne, R.E. – 1994. Hydroacustic remote sensing for artificial habitat. Bull. Mar. Sci., 55: 897-901.

Todd, B.J., G.B. Fader, R.C. Courtney and R.A. Pickrill. – 1999. Quaternary geology and surficial sediment processes, Browns Bank, Scotian Shelf, based on multibeam bathymetry. Mar. Geol., 162: 165–214. doi:10.1016/S0025-3227(99)00092-4

Wickam, D.A. and G.M. Russel. – 1974. An evaluation of midwater artificial structures for attracting coastal pelagic fishes. Fish. Bull., 72: 181-191.

Copyright (c) 2007 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Contact us

Technical support