Engineering Novel Habitats on Urban Infrastructure to Increase Intertidal Biodiversity

Chapman, M.G. and D.J. Blockley

Publication Date:

Seawalls––the most extensive artificial infrastructure––are generally featureless, vertical habitats that support reduced levels of local biodiversity. Here, a mimic of an important habitat on natural rocky shores (rock-pools) was experimentally added to a seawall and its impact on diversity assessed. The mimics created shaded vertical substratum and pools that retained water during low tide. These novel habitats increased diversity of foliose algae and sessile and mobile animals, especially higher on the shore. Many species that are generally confined to lowshore levels, expanded their distribution over a greater tidal range. Success requires melding engineering skills and ecological understanding. This paper demonstrates one cost- effective way of addressing this important issue for urban infrastructure affecting nearshore habitats.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article