Author Identifier

Oscar Serrano Orcid: Paul Lavery Orcid:

Document Type

Journal Article


Frontiers Research Foundation


School of Science / Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research



Grant Number

ARC Number : DE170101524


Serrano, O., Serrano, E,, Inostroza, K., Lavery, P.S., Mateo, M.A. & Ballesteros, E. (2017). Seagrass meadows provide 3D habitat for reef fish. Frontiers in Marine Science, 4(54). 1-3 doi: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00054. Available here


For large fishes, seagrass canopies typically provide a relatively flat habitat on seabeds, but seagrasses in the genus Posidonia can provide additional habitat complexity by forming organic-rich deposits known as mats. Erosional processes can scour channels through the mats, resulting in the formation of escarpments with caves. Here we report that reef fishes, such as groupers, inhabit the caves found within mat escarpments. The characteristics of the cavities are highly variable, ranging from small-elongated holes to deep caves with large entrances. The origin of these caves (biological and/or geological) is unknown, but it is possible that fish behavior enhance their formation. Posidonia seagrass escarpments provide a complex 3D habitat for reef fish that is not provided by typical canopy structure of seagrass. Further studies are required to gain insights into the natural history of seagrass escarpments and their ecological importance.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.