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Ecosystem Engineering

Subcon has a proven track record of successful ecosystem engineering. We have completed over 24 artificial reef projects showing promising results for long term benefit to marine communities. 

Our innovative approach melds engineering, marine biology, material science, art and economics to deliver scalable, nature-based solutions for coastal erosion control and fisheries decline. Our hypothesis is that large scale reef morphology is the key driver of recruitment and production.

Through the deployment of carefully engineered reef structures at an industrial scale, we have experimented and refined our morphology to maximise the benefits provided by engineered reefs to the marine environment. 

Whilst many reef proponents’ experiments have focussed on mimicking substrate surface finishes and settlement ques, chemical composition, ph and material – these have only delivered short term, localised gains with methods that are difficult and expensive to scale. 

These small scale experiments demonstrate that nature is great at recruiting and building the small, fine-scale topography of a reef.  It’s the underlying reef structure that takes thousands of years to establish. The successful initial recruitment of flora and fauna depends almost entirely on reef morphology – reef shape, surface area and volume. Maximise this and you maximise reef abundance! Then it comes down to natural factors like seasonal timing of the deployment, competition for space and metocean conditions at the site.

Through years of data-backed experimentation, our Blue Solutions team has focussed efforts on designing structures that restore the macro morphology. These structures mimic nature by providing essential ecosystem services and hard substrates that are crucial to the restoration of aquatic ecosystems. Aspects such as complex habitat, current upwelling, vertical relief, surface area, stability, material selection and reef field layout are all carefully combined to optimise benefits.

Talk to our team today for more information on our ecosystem engineering capabilities or read through some of our case studies below. 

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Case studies

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Featured case studies