AbstractThe protective role of coral reefs on beaches has been widely demonstrated and studied (e.g. Ferrario, et al. 2014). The principal mechanism through which this is achieved is wave energy dissipation mainly due to wave breaking and bottom friction. Moreover, several beaches have been seen to start eroding or worsen their erosion patterns with the loss or damage to reef barriers. Recently, the effectiveness of coral reefs as wave attenuating barriers was found to have direct relation to a roughness index estimated as a function of the Nikuradse roughness (Rogers, et al., 2016; Mariño-Tapia et al, 2015). Several projects have been implemented around the world which aim to mimic the services coral reefs bring to beaches (coastal protection, wave energy attenuation, habitat supply). These generally use artificial structures, composed of geometric elements with regular shape. The main goal of this work is to test scale model replicas of a natural coral reef and compare their performance as wave energy attenuator via the energy flux damping. The organic shape is expected to reduce the wave height efficiently and is likely to be colonized rapidly (although only hydrodynamic related variables will be reported).
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