Barbara Zanuttigh, Inigo Losada, Richard Thompson


Sustainability of coastal areas requires the development of a standard procedure for the selection of equitable defence solutions and the design optimization of existing defences in order to minimize the impact on the environment and maximize positive effects such as species biodiversity and structure colonization. The aim of this paper is to propose a combined method, based on numerical simulations and on collection of ecological data in the field, to provide indications for an environmental friendly construction of breakwaters. This method is applied and tested against the case study of Elmer, UK, where information on existing species and their abundance related to hydrodynamic effects induced by the breakwaters


sustainability; design; procedure; environment; numerical model

Full Text:



Airoldi L., Abbiati M., Hawkins, Jonsson P.R., Martin D., Moschella P., Thompson R. and P. Åberg, 2005. "An ecological perspective on deployment and design of low crested structures", Coastal Eng., 52 (10), 1073-1087.

Boller, M. L. and E. Carrington 2006. "The hydrodynamic effects of shape and size change during reconfiguration of a flexible macroalga", The Journal of Experimental Biology 209, 1894-1903.


Burcharth H. F., Hawkins S., Zanuttigh B. and A. Lamberti, 2007. Environmental Design Guidelines for Low Crested Coastal Defence Structures, Elsevier.

Davidson, M. A., Bird, P.A.D., Bullock, G.N. and D.A. Huntley, 1996 A new non-dimensional number for the analysis of wave reflection from rubble mound breakwaters, Coastal Eng., 28, 93- 120.

Denny, M. 1995. Predicting physical disturbance: mechanistic approaches to the study of survivorship on wave-swept shores. Ecological Monographs, 65, 371–418.

Guanche, R., Losada, I.J. and J. L. Lara, 2008. "An integrated approach to the analysis of coastal structures at prototype scale using COBRAS-UC", Proc. 31st Int. Conf. on Coastal Eng., in press.

Hawkins, S. J., and R. G. Hartnoll. 1985. "Factors determining the upper limits of intertidal canopyforming algae." Marine Ecology Prog. Series, 20, 265–272.

Jonsson, P., Granhag, L., Moschella, P., Aberg, P., Hawkins, S. J. and R. C. Thompson, 2006. "Interactions between wave action and grazing control the distribution of intertidal macroalgae", Ecology, 875, 1169–1178.[1169:IBWAAG]2.0.CO;2

King D.M., N.J. Cooper, J.C. Morfett and D.J. Pope, 2000. "Application of offshore breakwaters to the UK: a case study at Elmer beach". Journal of Coastal Research, 16, 172-187.

Losada, I.J., Lara, J.L., Guanche, R., Gonzalez-Ondina, J.M. 2008. "Numerical analysis of wave overtopping of rubble mound breakwaters". Coastal Eng., 55 (1), 47-62.

Martin, D., Bertasi, F., Colangelo, M.A., Frost, M., Hawkins, S.J., Macpherson, E., Moschella, P.S., Satta, M.P., Thompson, R.C., deVries, M. and Ceccherelli, V.U., 2005. "Ecological impacts of low crested structures on soft bottoms and mobile infauna: how to evaluate and forecast the consequences of an unavoidable modification of the native habitats". Coastal Eng., 52 (10), 1027-1051.

Moschella, P., Abbiati, M., Aberg, P., Airoldi, L., Anderson, J.M.,Bacchiocchi, F., Dinesen, G.E., Gacia, E., Granhag, L., Jonsson,P., Satta, M.P., Sundelof, A., Thompson, R.C., Hawkins, S.J., 2005. "Low crested structures as artificial habitats for marine life: what grows where and why?" Coastal Eng., 52 (10), 1053-1071.

Zanuttigh, B., Martinelli, L., Lamberti, A., Moschella, P., Hawkins, S., Marzetti, S. and Ceccherelli, V.U., 2005. "Environmental design of coastal defence in Lido di Dante, Italy", Coastal Eng., 52 (10-1., 1089-1125.

Zanuttigh, B., Van der Meer, J. W., Lykke Andersen, T., Lara J. L. and Inigo J. Losada, 2008. "Analysis of wave reflection from structures with berms through an extensive database and 2DV numerical modeling", Proc. Coastal Eng. 2008.