Effects of artificial defences and flooding on coastal habitats and assemblages

Franzitta, Giulio (2013) Effects of artificial defences and flooding on coastal habitats and assemblages, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze ambientali: tutela e gestione delle risorse naturali, 24 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/5222.
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Since large stretches of European coasts are already retreating and projected scenarios are worsening, many artificial structures, such as breakwaters and seawalls, are built as tool against coastal erosion. However artificial structures produce widespread changes that alter the coastal zones and affect the biological communities. My doctoral thesis analyses the consequences of different options for coastal protection, namely hard engineering ‘artificial defences’ (i.e. impact of human-made structures) and ‘no-defence’ (i.e. impact of seawater inundation). I investigated two new aspects of the potential impact of coastal defences. The first was the effect of artificial hard substrates on the fish communities structure. In particular I was interested to test if the differences among breakwaters and natural rocky reef would change depending on the nature of the surrounding habitat of the artificial structure (prevalent sandy rather than rocky). The second was the effect on the native natural sandy habitats of the organic detritus derived from hard-bottom species (green algae and mussels) detached from breakwaters. Furthermore, I investigated the ecological implication of the “no-defend” option, which allow the inundation of coastal habitats. The focus of this study was the potential effect of seawater intrusion on the degradation process of marine, salt-marsh and terrestrial detritus, including changes on the breakdown rates and the associated macrofauna. The PhD research was conducted in three areas along European coasts: North Adriatic sea, Sicilian coast and South-West England where different habitats (coastal, estuarine), biological communities (soft-bottom macro-benthos; rocky-coastal fishes; estuarine macro-invertebrates) and processes (organic enrichment; assemblage structure; leaf-litter breakdown) were analyzed. The research was carried out through manipulative and descriptive field-experiments in which specific hypothesis were tested by univariate and multivariate analyses.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Franzitta, Giulio
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze della terra e dell'ambiente
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Data di discussione
26 Marzo 2013

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