Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Reports

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate, from a biological perspective, a tire-concrete aggregate which uses tire shreds mixed into concrete, as a suitable reef building material. Evaluation consisted of comparing the biological assemblages associated with tire-aggregate reefs to standard gravel-concrete reefs of the same design. Four artificial reefs of concrete, tetrahedron modules were placed off Fort Lauderdale, Florida in seven meters of water, two reefs of each type of aggregate. Each reef contains 25 small (1m/side) and 25 large (1.3m/side) tetrahedrons stacked in a random configuration. The reefs were monitored at monthly, or less, intervals for 28 months. The status of the biological assemblages were assayed by: visual census (fishes); uw-video taping and collection (invertebrates) and scanning electron microscopy (initial microscopic colonizers). The reefs acquired a diverse assemblage of fishes and invertebrates over the course of the study; 105 species of fishes and over 120 taxa of invertebrates were recorded. There were no apparent significant differences among the biological assemblages, between the two types of reefs, that can be readily ascribed to the difference in construction material. Based on these results, it appears that the tire-concrete aggregate is an appropriate material for artificial reef construction, and may be an ecologically positive method of tire disposal.

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Final Report

Publication Title

Broward County Department of Natural Resource Protection