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QUADRAT DTP: Development of artificial reefs: design, scientific monitoring, environment impact and management in North/Irish Seas

Project Description

With the population growth along coastlines the demand of infrastructure for various societal needs such as transportation (ports), energies (pipelines, power stations, oil/gas rigs) and urbanisation (marinas, seawalls, breakwaters, etc.) with the most affected regional coasts in the western Mediterranean Sea which is dominated by concrete structures and in some areas the growth of cities, ports and industries has developed over 90% of coastline (EEA, 1999). This increase has resulted in replacing the substrates of natural coastlines.

Therefore, there is a need to develop coastal infrastructure with greener designs and to ensure the resource is sustainable and the impact on the surrounding marine environment is minimized. One such sustainable potential resource is marine shellfish shell waste. In order to initiate better management of marine resources (increasing and redistribution) of marine by-products resulting from fishing and shellfish industries, the project will address these issues by enhancing the use of marine resources and reusing by-products, developing innovative materials for artificial reefs.

Concrete based coastal and marine infrastructure such as ports, piers, industrial facilities and coastal defence elements dominate coastal zones around the world. The development of artificial reefs aims to enhance the marine flora and fauna. The objectives of the project are to investigate the reuse of marine shellfish shell waste as aggregates for concrete-based costal structures to be used in fabrication of artificial reefs, to develop innovative materials with specific texture and design elements for artificial reefs and to deploy these artificial reefs to investigate the biodiversity and production of such artificial systems in the North and Irish Seas.

Another objective is also to understand the role of artificial reefs with the objective of enhancing benthic biodiversity. This will involve investigating various combinations of materials and design, selection and supplying of the different shell marine wastes, production and installation, the environmental impact, characterisation of study area, study of colonialization and monitoring the reefs, trophic interactions, study of natural and long-term and seasonal variability and of community changes associated with benthic disturbance such as fish, invertebrates and macroalgae.


Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a 2.1 Honours degree in a relevant subject. Applicants with a minimum of a 2.2 Honours degree may be considered providing they have a Distinction at Master’s level.


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Science
• State name of the lead supervisor as ‘Name of Proposed Supervisor’ on application
• State ‘QUADRAT DTP’ as Intended Source of Funding
• Select the ‘Visit Website’ to apply now

Funding Notes

This project is funded by the NERC QUADRAT-DTP and is available to UK/EU nationals who meet the UKRI eligibility criteria. Please visit View Website for more information.

The studentship provides funding for tuition fees, stipend and a research training and support grant subject to eligibility.

How good is research at Aberdeen University in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 89.42

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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