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Habitat effects from shoreline construction

Filamentous algae suffocating vegetationReduced water circulation and subsequent eutrophication is one of several consequences of coastal construction. Photo: Ulf Bergström

Marinas and jetties are not randomly placed along the coast, instead they are usually situated in sheltered areas where there is a low risk that storms and strong winds will damage the boats. For many species of fish, these shallow, sheltered areas also constitute the most important spawning and nursery areas.

Loss of vegetation and increased sedimentation
Increased traffic in the form of recreational boats and larger passenger ferries changes the species composition of the vegetation community. It also affects the juvenile fish community that utilise these shallow, sheltered areas as spawning and nursery habitats, either through the loss of vegetation as habitat or through negative effects caused by increased sedimentation rates.

Regime shifts
Increased shoreline construction and boating will also increase the likelihood of large and sudden changes in ecosystems, i.e. regime shifts. These are brought on by underlying drivers that usually don´t have an apparent impact until a certain threshold is reached. In coastal systems, such system-wide changes may be caused by for example decreases in stocks of large predatory fish as a consequence of habitat loss and overfishing.

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