Cool barnacles: Do common biogenic structures enhance or retard rates of deterioration of intertidal rocks and concrete?

Emanuela Claudia La Marca, Martin A. Coombes, Heather A. Viles, Larissa A. Naylor

Risultato della ricerca: Articlepeer review

26 Citazioni (Scopus)


Sedentary and mobile organisms grow profusely on hard substrates within the coastal zone and contribute to the deterioration of coastal engineering structures andthe geomorphic evolution of rocky shores by both enhancing and retarding weathering and erosion. There is a lack of quantitative evidence for the direction andmagnitude of these effects. This study assesses the influence of globally-abundant intertidal organisms, barnacles, by measuring the response of blocks of limestone,granite and marine-grade concrete colonised with varying percentage covers of Chthamalus spp. to simulated intertidal conditions. Monitoring temperature regimesat 5 and 10 mm below the surface of each material type demonstrates a consistent and statistically significant negative relationship between barnacle abundance andindicators of thermal breakdown. Subsurface peak temperatures of blocks with a 95% cover of barnacles were reduced by 1.59°C for limestone, 5.54°C for concreteand 5.97°C for granite in comparison to those without any barnacles. The amplitude of internal thermal fluctuations was also buffered by 0.70°C in limestone, 1.50°C inconcrete and 1.63°C in granite. Furthermore, concentrations of potentially damaging salt ions were consistently lower under barnacles in limestone and concrete. Theseresults indicate that barnacles do not enhance, but rather reduce rates of mechanical breakdown on rock and concrete by buffering near-surface thermal cycling andreducing salt ingress. In these ways, we highlight the potential value of barnacles as agents of bioprotection. These findings support growing international efforts toenhance the ecological value of coastal structures by facilitating their colonisation (where appropriate) through design interventions.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1034-1045
Numero di pagine12
RivistaScience of the Total Environment
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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