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Ben Thornes

The Bournemouth Bio-Beach Project

Wednesday 16th July 2014

Our coastline has seen habitat degradation and biodiversity loss as a result of pollution, overfishing and the steady reclamation of the seabed through coastal works and port developments. With 40% of the world’s population now living within 100km of the coast, climate change and sea level rise are presenting new challenges for the protection of our eroding coastline and the inshore marine life which inhabits it.

The Bio-Beach project will see ecologists and engineers from the Faculty of Science & Technology joining forces in order to pump-prime research into sustainable coastal defence design. The team will be designing and creating features including artificial rock pools and structures containing holes, pits and crevices which will provide refugia for marine organisms. These structures will be retro-fitted onto existing coastal defences on Boscombe Beach and allow the public to observe and explore their colonisation by local marine wildlife.

The aim of this project is to help us to understand what aspects are most attractive to marine organisms, and then to apply these findings as ecologically sensitive design introduced to future marine developments in order to mitigate for potential biodiversity loss.

As well as engaging members of the public down on the beach, the team has also began work with students from Avonbourne School and Harewood College who are helping design the structures in their weekly STEM club.

The Bio-Beach project is in collaboration with Bournemouth Borough Council’s Coastal Activity Park and is funded through the BU Fusion Investment Fund, which supports projects demonstrating the powerful fusion of research, education and professional practice. We will be sharing the results of the project through the Coastal Activity Park’s new Marine Ecology Centre, on here and on the Bournemouth University research pages.

We will be providing updates throughout the summer as the project progresses but until then, check out the huge range of marine wildlife which can be found just off our beaches:

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