Benthic biodiversity on old platforms, young wind farms, and rocky reefs

Joop W.P. Coolen*, Babeth Van Der Weide, Joël Cuperus, Maxime Blomberg, Godfried W.N.M. Van Moorsel, Marco A. Faasse, Oscar G. Bos, Steven Degraer, Han J. Lindeboom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


The introduction of artificial hard substrates in an area dominated by a sandy seabed increases habitat available to epifouling organisms. To investigate this, samples were taken on old offshore oil and gas platforms, and data were compared with data of a young wind farm and a natural reef. Depth, sampling date, abundance of Mytilus edulis, Psammechinus miliaris, Metridium dianthus, and the presence of Tubulariidae and substrate (rock or steel) all correlated with species richness. Multivariate analysis showed a large overlap in communities on steel and rock and between the wind farm and platforms. The community changed over a gradient from deep rocks to shallow steel substrate, but no strong community differentiation was observed. Deep steel was more similar to natural rocks than shallow steel. When an artificial reef is intended to be colonized by communities similar to those on a natural reef, its structure should resemble a natural reef as much as possible.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberfsy092
Pages (from-to)1250-1265
Number of pages16
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number3
Early online date23 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Benthos
  • marine growth
  • platforms
  • reef
  • species richness
  • wind farm


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