Living Shorelines

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.

Hybrid mangroves

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

Mussel reefs

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)

Suitability mapping

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

Oyster reefs

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

Image: Friends of Williamstown Wetlands
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)

Cost-benefit analysis

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

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