Published on: 07/04/10
Wrecks as artificial lobster habitats in the German Bight
Once, the European lobster could be found in high abundances on rocky substrate around the island of Helgoland. Since the 1960s, the stock has been decreasing dramatically. Until now, it has been assumed that the lobster stock of Helgoland is the only one in the German Bight. Here, we provide first information about lobster distribution inside the German Bight off Helgoland. Diving in situ observations revealed that lobsters inhabit at least 15.6% of all 64 investigated wrecks. Considering the difficulties of detecting lobsters at wrecks, the true percentage is most likely much higher. Their locations are spatially homogenously distributed throughout the inspected area. The study indicates a broad distribution of the European lobster over the German Bight. The habitats provided by a considerable fraction of the more than one thousand wrecks outside the Wadden Sea are potential lobster refuges within the mud and sand dominated sea floor. Besides providing additional habitats, they represent stepping stones enhancing the connectivity of the North Sea lobster population. © 2010 Springer-Verlag and AWI.