International
The Indian Express/ Reuters

Sydney - 'Living seawalls' bring back biodiversity to Sydney Harbour

SYDNEY, Oct 4 (Reuters) - In sight of Sydney's iconic Harbour Bridge, marine scientist Mariana Mayer Pinto gingerly steps into the dark waters to examine a seawall covered with hexagonal concrete panels marked with divots that are thronged with kelp, seaweed and barnacles.

SYDNEY, Oct 4 (Reuters) - In sight of Sydney's iconic Harbour Bridge, marine scientist Mariana Mayer Pinto gingerly steps into the dark waters to examine a seawall covered with hexagonal concrete panels marked with divots that are thronged with kelp, seaweed and barnacles.

About 50% of the natural shore of the harbour has been transformed by seawalls and pilings, which do not support biodiversity the same way a natural coastline would.

Sydney's Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) with the help of scientists from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Macquarie University have crafted a solution using three-dimensional concrete panels in what they call the "Living Seawalls" project.

Specifically designed panels can be retrofitted onto existing seawalls, simulating the natural shoreline ecosystem that provides habitats for organisms such fish, algae and invertebrates that flat seawalls cannot.

"We have seen a total of more than 90 species colonising these diverse panels and we see 30 to 40 percent more species on the panels in the living seawalls then on the unmodified parts of the seawall," said project co-leader Mayer Pinto, a professor at UNSW.

Read more.