ICCE 2022

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CAN LIVING SEAWALLS BE DESIGNED TO IMPROVE BIOSECURITY?. (2023). Coastal Engineering Proceedings, 37, structures.35.


Artificial structures such as seawalls, typically support less biodiversity than the natural habitats they replace and can harbour invasive species. Marine life that can survive on these structures are responding to several design factors including the material used in construction and availability of micro/macro habitats as well as local environmental conditions such as light and wave energy. Our understanding of how these factors might influence the types of marine life found on artificial structures is increasingly being used to restore native biodiversity by creating “living seawalls” in a practice commonly referred to as “ecological engineering” (Chapman and Underwood 2011, Dafforn et al. 2015). Given that more structures will be built to protect our coastal assets from climate change, there is an urgent need to scale up eco-engineering efforts.


Bishop et al. (2022) Complexity-biodiversity relationships on marine urban structures: reintroducing habitat heterogeneity through eco-engineering. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. vol. 377, p. 20210393.

Chapman & Underwood (2011) Evaluation of ecological engineering of “armoured” shorelines to improve their value as habitat. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, vol. 400, pp. 302-313.

Dafforn et al. (2015) Marine urbanization: an ecological framework for designing multifunctional artificial structures. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, vol. 13, pp. 82-90.

Strain et al. (2018a) Eco-engineering built infrastructure for marine and coastal biodiversity: which interventions have the greatest ecological benefit? Journal of Applied Ecology, vol. 55, pp. 426-441

Strain et al. (2018b) Increasing microhabitat complexity on seawalls can reduce fish predation on native oysters. Ecological Engineering, vol. 120, pp. 637-644.

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Copyright (c) 2023 Katherine Dafforn, Maria Vozzo, Tegan Fuchert, Mariana Mayer-Pinto, Melanie Bishop