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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: MARINEFF

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Ecological enhancement of marine infrastructures

Ecological enhancement of marine infrastructures

MARINEFF,  is a €4.6million project, 2018-2022  to enhance and protect coastal and transitional water ecosystems in cross-border Channel regions.

The MARINEFF project was selected under the European cross-border cooperation Programme INTERREG VA France (Channel) – England co-funded by the ERDF (total support €3.08m) and involves 9 French and British partners: ESITC Caen, Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Ports Normands Associés, Travaux Publics du Cotentin, VCMF, University of Southampton, Bournemouth University, University of Exeter, Université de Caen Normandie.

Today, marine infrastructures (MI: dykes, quays, piers, groynes and moorings) ubiquitous on our coasts, do not incorporate the enhancement of coastal and transitional water ecosystems in their design and during construction. In fact, MIs are almost invariably replacing rich coastal ecosystems with artificial zones of poor biodiversity. These artificial areas create barriers to the larvae and juveniles of numerous species that use coastal ecosystems as shelters and nurseries before mature adults move to the open seas. To avoid these negative effects and create MIs that enhance the ecological status of coasts, it is necessary to help project owners, managers and engineers using new MI design methods. Starting with an environmental analysis, the designer tailors strategy according to the needs of the site: the protection of a local threatened species or the global improvement of a site with common ecological characteristics. The project aims to realise new biomimetic marine infrastructures to improve the ecological status of coastal and transitional Channel waters, as well as to involve professionals and stakeholders in the project.

Specifically University of Southampton, Ocean and Earth Science team are leading the development of prototype native oyster enhancement units, with planned deployment in the Solent summer 2020. We are collaborating with the current Solent oyster restoration project.

Related research groups

Marine Biology and Ecology
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