WP 3: Ecologically based mitigation measures and design

Leader: Richard C. Thompson, UoP


Mankind has a long tradition of defending itself from flooding. Whereas in the past this was mainly based on making use of the natural landscape, in modern times our safety is increasingly dependent on modern techniques that require high investments in money and energy. Hence, it is time to ask if we can obtain more cost efficient and sustainable coastal defence systems by incorporating natural processes.

Within ecological science, THESEUS will examine the extent to which natural biogenic habitats offer coastal protections and the extent to which such protection can be enhanced (salt marshes, dunes) and managed. THESEUS will also provide an in depth knowledge of the environment vulnerability and resilience to sea water inundation. This kind of information is essential to proceed with no-defend options (inundation in controlled areas) or with over-washed structures, since it will allow us to identify the habitats that should be protected and those habitats where little or nothing should be done. Evaluation of natural habitat management will be considered alongside the ecological effects of coastal engineering intervention (see above) on marine habitats, providing guidelines and best practices for a proper design.

WT 3.1   Evaluating the role of natural habitats in coastal protection (Leader: Marco Abbiati, UniBo)

Baseline: Current knowledge of ecological effects of rocky structures (DELOS) and nourishment/dredging operations (BEACHMED-e). Current knowledge of ecological
vulnerability and recovery to coastal floods in the choice of managed realignement (ComCoast,BRANCH, SafeCoast)

Performance/ Research Indicators:

  • Identification of relevant habitat for coastal protection and multi-stressors coastal risks
  • Guidelines for maintenance and construction of habitat for mitigation purposes(biological reefs, dunes, saltmarshes)
  • Guidelines for the estimation of environmental vulnerability and resilience to erosion,flooding and mitigation measures

        Read more on similar research topic:  

Martins, G.M.;Thompson, R.C.; Neto, A.I.; Hawkins, S.J.; Jenkins, S.R. (2010). Enhancing stocks of the exploited limpet Patella candei  d’Orbigny via modifications in coastal engineering. Biological Conservation 143 (1): 203-211  abstract