HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Bernhard Riegl

Second Advisor

Timothy Swain


As the demand for urbanization of coastal areas increases, there is a strong interest to create new infrastructures that would replace natural habitats (Airoldi & Beck, 2007; Dugan et al., 2011). These infrastructures, due to their differences in composition and structure, are often associated with decreasing biodiversity, and proliferation of invasive species (Firth et al., 2014; Moschella et al., 2005). To minimize or attenuate these negative effects of hardening shorelines eco-engineering can be implemented. This kind of approach focuses on the modification of artificial habitats to enhance services that would not be otherwise obtained (Barbier et al., 2011; Mayer-Pinto et al., 2017; Strain et al., 2017). In this study, I examined the effect of four eco- engineered concrete mattresses, designed to replace standard rock armors and concrete erosion systems, on the fish assemblages of the intercoastal waterway of Port Everglades, Florida. The specific design of these artificial structures did not result in a clear ecological enhancement of fish assemblages compared to the surrounding urbanized habitats, but it did show the potential to increase suitable habitat for native fish over invasive ones. This study could also provide new elements for future development of eco-engineering solutions.