Current Event: Rigs to Reefs

The program of Rigs to Reefs increases biodiversity by creating artificial reefs from unused oilrigs in the Gulf of Mexico. This attracts large amount of fish species as shelter and food, but also mating. This particular study examines dimensions of the ecology of certain species:

  1. Abundance and distribution
  2. Age, growth, and condition
  3. Trophic ecology (gut contents and stable isotopes)
  4. Reproductive capacity

Overfishing is a ecological technique that negatively impacts many species, and these submerged, run-down rigs provides a safe haven that fisherman do not approach. The species taking advantage of this new gathering place and home are not impacted by overfishing because their location is not easily accessible.

These decommissioned platforms attract all different types of marine species, and have actually led to the discovery of more and more unseen fish, plants and invertebrates.

The article highlights the idea of a “lifeless” zone very far underneath the ocean’s surface. These rigs are dropped to at least 85 feet beneath the water’s surface, causing the fish and marine life that have attached themselves to the rigs to follow with the depth, causing adaptions to less sunlight, less oxygenated water, and colder waters. This growth allows for a greater range of reach by many species.

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