Climate change is increasing the risk of erosion and flooding to growing coastal communities and infrastructure. Nature-based coastal defences present an adaptive solution to protecting the coast into the future, as an alternative to traditional hard structures. This research investigates when and where nature-based coastal defences can be successfully used, and how to design them for positive ecological and engineering outcomes.
This project investigates whether custom 3D-printed concrete planters can be used to establish mangroves for erosion control in Port Phillip and Western Port Bays.
Investigators: Dr Benedikt Fest, Dr Rebecca Morris, Prof. Steve Swearer
Funding: Climate Change Innovation Grant, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
Collaborators: Dr Beth Strain, Western Port Seagrass Partnership, Melbourne Water, Science into Action, Hobsons Bay Council, Port Phillip and Western Port CMA, Reef Design Lab
Students: Taylor Rubinstein
Recycled rock and shell form the hard substrate needed for the establishment of a mussel reef in this living breakwater project.
Investigators: Dr Rebecca Morris and Prof. Stephen Swearer
Funding: Port Phillip Bay Fund, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
Collaborators: City of Greater Geelong Council, Port Phillip EcoCentre
Students: Ralph Roob (also supervised by Dr Teresa Konlechner and A/Prof. David Kennedy)
This project combines species distribution modelling with rules-based suitability analysis to determine where nature-based coastal defences could be used in Victoria.
Investigators: Drs Rebecca Morris, Heini Kujala, Rebecca Runting, Teresa Konlecher and Beth Strain
Funding: School of BioSciences Seed Fund, University of Melbourne
Research Assistant: Alys Young
A project based in the United States, this evaluates the coastal protection and habitat value of oyster reef living shorelines across five states using low-cost wave sensors.
Collaborators: Prof. David Bushek, Jenny Shinn, Dr Joshua Moody, A/Prof. Donna Bilkovic, Kory Angastadt, Prof. Linda Walters, A/Prof. Kelly Kibler, Dr Paul Sacks, Dr Giovanna McClenahan, Prof. Just Cebrian, Prof. Bret Webb, Dr Eric Sparks, Nigel Temple, Matthew Virden, Prof. Megan La Peyre, Danielle Marshall.
Funding: NOAA, Effects of Sea Level Rise Program
Mangrove rock fillets
This project investigates the direct benefits of rock fillets for erosion control and mangrove establishment, and co-benefits for blue carbon and fish (through stable isotope analysis).
Investigators: Dr Rebecca Morris, Dr Benedikt Fest, Prof. Stephen Swearer
Collaborators: Dr Beth Strain, Dr Vincent Raoult, A/Prof Troy Gaston, Dr Debra Stokes, Dr Patrick Dwyer, Charlotte Jenkins
Funding: Native Australian Animal Trust Grant (to Strain and Morris)
Students: Johanna Tachas
Wave attenuation of coastal vegetation
This project evaluates the wave attenuation of seagrass, mangroves and saltmarsh in temperate Australia to determine the role in coastal defence.
Investigators: Drs Rebecca Morris, Beth Strain, Paul Carnell, Ruth Reef, A/Prof. Peter Macreadie, Prof. Stephen Swearer
Funding: National Centre for Coasts and Climate and Blue Carbon Lab
Students: Jaya Kelvin (Deakin University)
The research combines property, planning/architecture and ecological data to assess the cost-benefits of different coastal defence options for property implications and value considerations.
Investigators: Drs Beth Strain, Rebecca Morris, Georgia Warren-Myers, Gideon Aschwanden, Sareh Moosavi, Judy Bush, Karl Mallon, A/Prof. Anthony Boxshall, Profs. Stephen Swearer and Tom Kompas
Partner organisation: City of Greater Geelong Council
Funding: Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute Seed Fund