Ocean Ecostructures has carried out the III report that collects the data found in the last monitoring on October 17 and contrasts with the monitoring on May 23, 2023. Although a decrease in biodiversity has been observed with respect to the previous sampling, this is due to the seasonal variation itself and agrees with the results obtained in other ports along the Spanish coast. We are waiting to see how it continues to evolve in winter and next spring, when we predict that there will once again be an increase in species richness and biomass.
In November 2022, 10 Life Boosting Units structures were installed in Cívitas Puerto Banús, in collaboration with Ocean Ecostructures, in different areas of the port that allow the regeneration of marine biodiversity, restoring life and allowing the revitalization and recycling of marine infrastructure and damaged environments.
The overall objective of the study is to monitor the colonization and subsequent ecological succession in the “Life Boosting Units” (LBU) regeneration structures installed in Puerto José Banús in November 2022. Throughout the monitoring period, the the success of species recruitment, as well as the differences between the observed communities, in the LBU according to the installation area.
This report reflects the results obtained after the first 11 months have elapsed since the introduction of LBUs in the environment. The structures studied (ten in total) were installed in the 3 locations of the port represented in Image 1. The information on the number of units in each area is collected in Table 1.
Results and general condition of the LBU regeneration units
The communities grown in the LBU have shown an increase in terms of accumulated biomass and coverage (Image 2), also increasing the complexity of the established ecological assemblages.
The most common species found in association with the units are the red algae of the order Ceramiales and the ascidian Clavelina lepadiformis. In the sampling carried out in May, a greater abundance of some fish was observed, such as Chromis chromis or several species of the genus Diplodus, but in the sampling carried out in October, a decrease in these mobile species and an increase in benthic species such as the hydrozoan Eudendrium racemosum was observed and the polychaetes of the genus Filograna.
General biodiversity in the structures in Cívitas Puerto Banús
The evolution of biodiversity in the global environment of the port is shown in Figure 1, where, despite the decrease in October, the upward trend in specific biodiversity can be observed. Already in the first sampling (carried out on March 7, 4 months after the installation of the units) the LBU showed approximately 51% more biodiversity than the wall. Then, during the May sampling, the biodiversity of the LBUs was 73% higher than the wall (56 species in the LBUs and 15 on the wall). Finally, during October, the LBUs have presented 53% more biodiversity than the walls (38 species in the units and 18 on the wall).
The present results indicate that the operation of the units is optimal:
- The biodiversity identified in the units is greater than the biodiversity on the port walls (which act as a control unit). This increase in biodiversity occurs both at the global level of the port and at the individual level of each area and LBU unit.
- Zone 2 is the one that presents the best results in biodiversity, in which all LBU structures present values higher than those observed for the control wall. Even so, the most extreme case is found in Zone 3, in unit 3.4, where benthic biodiversity is 133% higher than the control and mobile fauna biodiversity is 16% higher than the control.
- Regarding biomass, we can say that the CaCO3 units are having a very positive response since they are generating more biomass than the control walls.
- Zone 3 is the one that presents the best results, being the area where the greatest accumulation has been observed, with 37% more biomass than Zone 2 and 407% more than Zone 1.
- Regarding the animal and plant communities formed in the LBU, we find a great variety of groups and species that help to achieve a naturalized ecosystem, since they fulfill a large part of the ecological roles necessary for an ecosystem to function correctly.