Living Seawalls

The aim of Living Seawalls is to create marine life habitats on and around human made marine structures. The construction of marine structures has significant and often detrimental effects on natural habitats and biodiversity in the world’s oceans and coastal areas. That is why it is necessary to modify these structures with the aim of mimicing natural habitats. Living Seawalls does that in an effective and sustainable way. In areas with Living Seawalls, we have seen an increase of up to 36% in the number of fish, seaweeds and invertebrates with as many as 85 species living and growing on the panels.

The growing human population is rapidly increasing its environmental footprint in our oceans. This is in part due to a construction boom in our seas. The construction of marine structures, such as ports, harbours, offshore drilling platforms, and coastal developments, has significant and often detrimental effects on natural habitats and biodiversity in the world’s oceans and coastal areas. The number and size of these structures is rapidly increasing to meet global energy and food needs and to combat the threats of climate change and sea level rise to coastal populations. Built structures have, typically, smooth, vertical surfaces, lacking the diversity of micro-habitats often present on natural habitats. These structures can lead to the loss of critical marine habitats and a decline in biodiversity, with far-reaching ecological consequences.
To mitigate the loss of natural habitat and biodiversity due to marine built structures, it is essential to adopt sustainable and environmentally sensitive practices in their design, construction, and operation. In some instances, impacts from marine built structures can be avoided by using nature based solutions in their place. When this is not possible and construction is inevitable, built structures can be designed from the outset to be ecologically sustainable, support biodiversity , and provide multiple end-user benefits.
Living Seawalls provides an evidence-based approach to mitigating ecological impacts of marine built structures, including seawalls, bulkheads and revetments.

The objective of this project is to maximize the installation of panels on marine structures across the globe. Following thorough research and development, as well as recent monitoring, we have confirmed the product’s effectiveness in positively influencing marine life and ecosystems in equipped areas. Presently, our primary challenges involve securing global funding through various platforms, establishing connections with potential partners, and conducting ongoing scientific monitoring and further research. In essence, our primary goal is to ensure the project’s long-term sustainability and self-sufficiency, while progressively expanding production and global outreach. The current monitoring data already demonstrates that the panels are successfully fulfilling their initial purpose. It is now time to scale up our efforts and extend our reach to maximize the positive impact on marine life worldwide.

Living Seawalls has shown that despite marine construction being a large part of the problem, it can also be part of the solution. We offer habitat modules that can be pre-fabricated (panels are designed using 3D printing technology) and incorporated into the design of new marine built structures or fitted to existing structures to enhance their ecological value.
Living Seawalls habitat panels provide homes for marine life on otherwise largely flat and featureless surfaces. Built structures lack the complex 3D geometries of natural habitats such as holes, depressions and crevices. These features provide protection to inhabitants from predation and stressful environmental conditions. Living Seawalls habitat panels reintroduce these missing protective spaces and increase the area of hard surface to which marine life can colonise.
Living Seawalls products rely, in large part, on natural colonisation of marine life from the water. The protective spaces of the Living Seawalls panels provide a place in which marine life can live and thrive under otherwise stressful conditions. Depending on the environment in which panels are placed, these protective spaces can protect inhabitants from predators and environmental extremes such as high temperatures, and in intertidal zones drying out at low tide.
The designs of Living Seawalls panels are based on nature and mimic features such as rockpools, crevices and depressions. Each of the designs provide different sizes and shapes of protective spaces that support distinct ecological communities.
Living Seawalls panels are designed to not only reduce the environmental impacts of the current ‘ocean sprawl’, but also benefit marine life, enhance awareness about the marine environment and contribute to clean oceans.

Our scientific monitoring of Living Seawalls in Sydney Harbour for two years have found that our habitat panels support up to 3 times the number of species than flat surfaces of a similar age.
More than 50% of Sydney Harbours shoreline is modified by seawalls and other structures such as pilings. In areas with Living Seawalls, we have seen an increase of up to 36% in the number of fish, seaweeds and invertebrates with as many as 85 species living and growing on the panels.
Humans also benefit directly from Living Seawalls. Our research has demonstrated that where habitat-enhancing panels bolster the biodiversity and number of oysters and mussels, they can also enhance particle removal from the water. Hence, installing Living Seawalls may improve local water clarity and quality. This in turn enhances recreational activities including swimming, fishing and water sports in and around urban oceans.
Living Seawalls has an active monitoring programme at several installation sites, collecting data to evaluate the ongoing success of our solution.
Our panels have been engineered to last at least 20 years, and it is likely that as time elapses, Living Seawalls will serve as a home to, and attract, even more species.

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