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

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 14:49 authored by Chai, YJ, Firth, LB, Ban, CC, Elisabeth StrainElisabeth Strain, Hwai, ATS, Yin, CS
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.


Publication title

Proceedings of the 11th IMT-GT UNINET Conference 2018 - Bioscience for A Sustainable Future




Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Universiti Sains Malaysia

Place of publication

Penang, Malaysia

Event title

11th IMT-GT UNINET Conference 2018 – Bioscience for A Sustainable Future

Event Venue

Penang, Malaysia

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

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

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of benthic marine ecosystems

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