Green Engineering – Workgroup 2
As coasts become more urbanised, and foreshores and waterways are developed for residential and industrial purposes, coastal environments are gradually being built over. Natural habitats that support complex assemblages of native flora and fauna are being lost at a rapid rate.
The development of artificial structures (e.g. breakwaters & groynes, pilings, reefs and seawalls) in urban harbours (sheltered bays and estuaries) can have widespread ecological consequences by enhancing the distribution and spread of non-indigenous species. The concrete and metal structures built in their stead are often inhospitable to recolonisation by displaced species. In some cases, artificial structures serve as hotspots for non-indigenous species, further disrupting the ecology of the system.
Harbours and ports are extreme examples, with many having lost much of the original habitats, such as rocky reef, that supported native biota. For example, by 2003, over 50 per cent of the Sydney Harbour foreshore had been modified.
Living Seawalls is a SIMS initiative that builds on years of Sydney-based marine green engineering research that shows retrofitting existing seawalls with habitat enhancing units can improve the ecological performance of artificial structures.
As on land, attention is turning to green engineering techniques to restore natural communities to marine artificial structures within the coastal environment. Efforts are being made to design structures that support rather than degrade their surrounding ecosystems, that incorporate multiple functions and that preserve vital ecosystem services, including the provision of habitats hospitable to native species.
WG2 brings together scientists at the forefront of this new wave of research. WG2 will explore the distribution and effects of artificial structures in global harbours and investigate materials and designs for the ‘ecological engineering’ of harbours. Enhancements include use of natural or ecofriendly materials (wood, shell, rock, reduced pH concrete), addition of structural features (rockpools, crevices & holes, ridges, grooves and textures) and seeding with native habitat-forming species (e.g. algae, bivalves and coral).
Workgroup 2 Brochure – Download PDF
USE OF GREEN ENGINEERING TO ENHANCE BIVALVE COMMUNITIES IN HARBOURS AND PORTS
The project will run global experiment(s) to test the effects of green engineering techniques in enhancing native bivalve communities and reducing non-indigenous species on artificial structures in harbours and ports.
The bivalve enhancement experiment aims to manipulate habitat complexity and seeding to enhance native biodiversity and filtering rates and limit the spread of non-indigenous species.
Sydney, Auckland, Hobart, East London, Antofagasta, Rio de Janeiro, Taipei, Hong Kong, Penang, Tel Aviv, Chesapeake Bay, San Francisco Bay, Ravenna, Plymouth, Dublin
Read more on the Bivalve Restoration Project.
THE EFFICACY OF GREEN ENGINEERING STRATEGIES IN ENHANCING THE BIODIVERSITY OF ARTIFICIAL STRUCTURES: A META-ANALYSIS
The meta-analysis project is designed to garner information about suitable and successful substrates and species for green engineering restoration of harbours and ports.
Conduct meta-analysis on the efficacy of green engineering techniques for enhancing native species and reducing non-indigenous species richness and abundances on artificial structures in harbours and ports.
Tiles for this project provided by World Harbour Project partner, Reef Design Lab
The REEF DESIGN LAB is not for profit design studio and think tank based in Melbourne Australia, dedicated to advancing the effectiveness of purpose built reefs. Out of respect for marine life, RDL is passionate about seeing ‘better design below the waterline’ where marine infrastructure includes features that help support local biodiversity.
Our mission is to provide engineers and architects the type of cutting edge products they need to transform existing infrastructure or green engineer new sustainable developments. We produce a range of off-the-shelf and custom designed reef units in concrete, ceramic, sandstone and recycled plastic using a range of moulding and advanced manufacturing techniques including 3D printing. Design applications include enhancement of seawalls and jetties for bivalves and fishing and aesthetics, constructed reefs for diving and snorkelling, reef restoration and impact mitigation, research, aquaculture, and underwater sculptures.
We supply units to individuals, government, developers, architects, universities, NGOs and commercial operations. Give us a call to discuss your needs.
Left and below:
Tile project in Chesapeake Bay