Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Biological Sciences


Biological Sciences

Major Professor

Grady, James

Second Advisor

Poirrier, Michael

Third Advisor

Lopez, John


Artificial reef development is a common fishery enhancement tool used in aquatic systems worldwide. In 2003 and 2004, a series of artificial reefs were constructed in a large oligohaline estuary, Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana to improve recreational fisheries. The reefs are the first in Louisiana to be built of reef balls, concrete domes deployed primarily in marine environments. Although they attract fish and invertebrates in high salinities, reef balls have not been tested in low-salinity estuarine systems. The objective of this study was to determine contributions of artificial reefs to habitat quality in Lake Pontchartrain. Evaluations of invertebrate and fish assemblages, structural integrity, water quality, and recreational use of the reefs were conducted. Findings indicated that the reefs support estuarine fauna and have enhanced fishing and diving opportunities. In addition, a framework for reef monitoring was developed to guide future artificial reef projects in Lake Pontchartrain and other brackish water system.


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