Enhance and protect water ecosystems

Photo: Dr Ken Collins

MARINEFF – MARine INfrastructure EFFects Initiative

MARINEFF is a €5million project, 2018-2022 to enhance and protect coastal and transitional water ecosystems in cross-border Channel regions. 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. Today, marine structures (seawalls, quays, piers, groynes and moorings) ubiquitous on our coasts, do not incorporate the enhancement of coastal ecosystems in their design and during construction. The project aims to demonstrate new biomimetic marine structures to improve the ecological status of inshore waters, as well as to involve professionals and stakeholders in the project. Specifically Southampton will be supporting the current Solent oyster restoration project with specially designed oyster settlement structures recently deployed in the Solent. Building on the findings of its predecessor RECIF, the MARINEFF project has developed a robust, biologically attractive waste shell concrete. It is hoped that the 26 triangular structures, 1 metre across, will attract the settlement of native oyster larvae/spat and kick start self-sustaining oyster reefs, which will thrive without further intervention.

Preparing to load an oyster reef module onto the deployment vessel (Photo: Natural World UK)
Acoustic, 360o side-scan sonar image of the deployed oyster reef modules (Photo: Ken Collins)
Underwater photograph of an oyster module on the seabed soon after deployment (Photo: Ken Collins)

Two University of Southampton PhD students are contributing to the project: Zoë Holbrook and George Kelly.

We are working closely with the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority and the Blue Marine Foundation.


Ken Collins
Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, UK