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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Intertidal Ecology of Riprap Jetties and Breakwaters: Marine Communities Inhabiting Anthropogenic Structures along the West Coast of North America


Riprap is simply the rocky rubble used to construct jetties, breakwaters and armored shorelines. Riprap structures are designed to reduce wave energy, protect shorelines from erosion, and alter currents and sedimentation processes. These anthropogenic structures have become an ubiquitous form of coastal modification throughout the world. Despite the obvious abundance, habitats of anthropogenic origin are generally overlooked by marine ecologists. Nevertheless, anthropogenic structures, especially in urban areas, will play an ecological role, if only because of their abundance. Here I investigate the ecological role of riprap using rocky intertidal communities along the west coast of North America.

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