Barriers Made of Concrete and Oyster Shells Mitigate Erosion and Offer Alluring New Habitats on Australia’s Coastline

Stretching across more than 160 miles of Victoria’s central coast, Port Phillip harbors a diverse marine ecosystem. In recent years, though, the Australian bay has experienced widespread development that’s damaged the vegetation protecting the land, leading to mass erosion and habitat destruction. At this rate, some of the current shoreline is predicted to be entirely underwater by 2100.

As a remedy, designer Alex Goad and the team at the Melbourne-based Reef Design Lab have created a series of conical modules that break waves and re-establish healthy ecosystems for aquatic life. Titled Erosion Mitigation Units and installed near the city of Greater Geelong, the two-meter-wide structures are made of concrete and recycled oyster shells layered into molds. Once removed and submerged in the water, the undulating, organic shapes offer small caves, tunnels, and hiding spaces for shellfish, octopus, sponges, coral, and other creatures. Overhangs provide resting spots for stingrays and globefish, and one-centimeter-wide ridges on the surface are designed to attract tube worms, mussels, and oysters.

Featured Image: Image © Alex Goad/Reef Design Lab

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