Bioprotection on coastal rocks and structures

At the coast, canopy forming seaweeds and ‘bioconstructions’ like coral reefs and Sabellaria ‘worm-tube’ reefs are thought to protect rocks from waves and abrasives. Encrusting organisms like barnacles are also thought to have a protective role. These influences have rarely been studied on natural shores, and never on artificial structures like harbour walls and sea defences, which can become completely covered by organisms in some cases.

This website provides information on recent research that was funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to examine the bioprotective roles of intertidal species. The project, led by the University of Exeter, in collaboration with the Universities of Oxford and Plymouth, and the Marine Biological Association of the UK, evaluated how animals and plants influence micro-climate at the surface of different materials, and how this might be important for weathering, biodiversity and engineering.