Between 1 February 2012 and 26 February 2014 using scuba, we surveyed the fishes, invertebrates, and macrophytes living on two energized submarine power cables, an adjacent pipe, and nearby natural habitat in southern California at bottom depths of 10–11 m and 13–14 m. Over the course of the study, average electromagnetic field (EMF) levels at the two cables (A and B) were statistically similar (Cable A = 73.0µT, Cable B = 91.4µT) and were much higher at these two cables than at either the pipe (average = 0.5µT) or sand (0µT). Overall, our study demonstrated that 1) the fish and invertebrate communities on cables, pipe, and natural habitat strongly overlapped and 2) there were no differences between the shallower and deeper fish and invertebrate communities. We saw no evidence that fishes or invertebrates are either preferentially attracted to, or repelled by, the EMF emitted by the cables. Any differences in the fish or invertebrate densities between cables, pipe, and natural habitat taxa were most likely due to the differences in the physical characteristics of these habitats. As with the fishes and invertebrates, macrophytes did not appear to be responding to the EMF emitted by the cables. Rather, it is likely that differences in the plant communities were driven by site depth and habitat type.
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