Ecological enhancement of coastal engineering structures: passive enhancement techniques

MacArthur, M., Naylor, L. A. , Hansom, J. D. and Burrows, M. T. (2020) Ecological enhancement of coastal engineering structures: passive enhancement techniques. Science of the Total Environment, 740, 139981. (doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139981) (PMID:32927565)

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The rock type used in coastal engineering structures impacts biodiversity, but its effect has been understudied to date. We report here on whether different combinations of rock material and rock mass properties can improve habitat suitability and early phase ecological outcomes on coastal engineering structures. We examine two coastal engineering schemes that used different granites during construction. At site one, Shap granite boulders with a high number of cm-dm2 surface features (e.g. ledges) were deliberately positioned during construction (called passive enhancement), to a) maximise the provision of cm-dm scale intertidal habitat and b) determine which scale of habitat is best for ecological enhancement. At site two, Norwegian granite boulders were installed without passive enhancement, allowing for a direct comparison. Passive positioning of Shap granite boulders led to an increase in limpet (Patella vulgata, Linnaeus, 1758) abundance within two years but few limpets were recorded on the non-enhanced Norwegian granite. Positioning of boulder thus exerts a strong control on the mm and mm-dm scale geomorphic features present, with clear ecological benefits when suitable features are selected for and optimally positioned (i.e. passive enhancement) to maximise habitat features. An EcoRock scoring matrix was developed to aid in the selection of the most ecologically suitable rock materials for coastal engineering worldwide; this can help improve habitat provision on engineered structures in a rapidly warming world.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hansom, Professor James and Macarthur, Mairi and Naylor, Dr Larissa
Creator Roles:
Macarthur, M.Conceptualization, Methodology, Formal analysis, Investigation, Validation, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing, Visualization
Naylor, L.Conceptualization, Methodology, Validation, Resources, Writing – review and editing, Visualization, Supervision, Project administration, Funding acquisition
Hansom, J.Conceptualization, Methodology, Writing – review and editing, Visualization, Validation, Supervision, Project administration, Funding acquisition
Authors: MacArthur, M., Naylor, L. A., Hansom, J. D., and Burrows, M. T.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Science of the Total Environment
ISSN (Online):1879-1026
Published Online:06 June 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Science of the Total Environment 740:139981
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
172441A Decision Framework for Integrated Green Grey Infrastructure (IGGIframe)Larissa NaylorNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/N017404/1GES - Geography