Today, marine infrastructures (MIs, such as dikes, quays, piers, groynes, and moorings), which are ubiquitous on the Channel coasts, do not incorporate the enhancement of coastal and transitional water ecosystems in their design and during construction. They sole purpose is to serve human activities: transport, fishing, coastal planning, shoreline protection, boating, and tourism.

In fact, MIs are almost invariably replacing rich coastal ecosystems with artificial zones of poor biodiversity. These artificial areas create barriers to the larvae and juveniles of numerous species that use coastal ecosystems as shelters and nurseries before mature adults move to the open seas.

To avoid these negative effects and create MIs that enhance the ecological status of coasts, it is necessary to help project owners, managers and engineers using new MI design methods. Starting with an environmental analysis, the designer tailors his or her strategy according to the needs of the site: the protection of a local threatened species or the global improvement of a site with common ecological characteristics.

The integration of habitats for marine organisms directly into the MIs, which is the main innovation of the project, will be made possible by adaptating commonly used materials (concrete) to precise ecological specifications.

These biomimetic MIs will be deployed in two large-scale POs and six experimental sites to test various types of MIs and ensure their transferability across the FCE area. The improvements brought about by these MIs will be measured according to the descriptors of the MSFD (measurement of biomass, biodiversity, abundance of fishery resources and eutrophication; monitoring of invasive species and analysis of trophic networks).

The Marineff project involves 9 French and British partners with complementary expertise :

  • Ecole Supérieure d’Ingénieurs des Travaux de la Construction de Caen, ESITC Caen (FR)
  • Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, MNHN (FR)
  • Syndicat mixte régional des ports de Caen, Ouistreham Cherbourg – Ports Normands Associés, PNA (FR)
  • Travaux Publics du Cotentin, TPC (FR)
  • VINCI Construction Maritime et Fluvial, VCMF (FR)
  • University of Southampton, US (GB)
  • Bournemouth University Higher Education Corporation, BU (GB)
  • University of Exeter, UE (GB)
  • Université de Caen Normandie, UC (FR)

The Marineff project was selected under the European cross-border cooperation Programme INTERREG VA France (Channel) – England co-funded by the ERDF and involves 9 French and British partners.

Duration of  the project : 01/04/2018 – 31/04/2022