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It is in the details: simple structural complexity modification could restore ecological function on seawall

Chai, YJ, Firth, LB, Ban, CC, Strain, E ORCID: 0000-0003-2165-9544, Hwai, ATS and Yin, CS 2018 , 'It is in the details: simple structural complexity modification could restore ecological function on seawall', paper presented at the 11th IMT-GT UNINET Conference 2018 – Bioscience for A Sustainable Future, 11-12 December 2018, Penang, Malaysia.

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Abstract

Increased human use and climate change over the last decades has put huge pressure on coastal area. To shield coastal settlements and facilities from hazardous events, the most common management strategy used is the building of hard structures such as seawalls and breakwaters. However, hard engineered structures often have low ecological values and interrupts dynamic coastal processes. We test the effectiveness of a novel tool in green engineering to modify the structural complexity of ordinary seawalls, to promote the growth of native biodiversity and thus rehabilitate ecological function of hard engineered structures. Seventy eco-concretes with three different degrees of complexity: a flat, 2.5 cm and 5.0 cm complex enhancements were installed at mid-water level on seawall of Penang Port and Straits Quay Marina in Penang, Malaysia. Monitoring was carried out trimonthly for one year. Results suggested relative richness and abundance were highest at 5.0 cm > 2.5 cm > flat and lastly, seawall. Although there was no significant difference in net productivity between 5.0 cm, 2.5 cm, and flat eco-concrete, all of them were relatively higher than that of seawall. The results provide an insight on how addition of complexity on the seawall could bring back a certain degree of biodiversity.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Authors/Creators:Chai, YJ and Firth, LB and Ban, CC and Strain, E and Hwai, ATS and Yin, CS
Keywords: green engineering, structural complexity, coastal biodiversity
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the 11th IMT-GT UNINET Conference 2018 – Bioscience for A Sustainable Future
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)

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