Coastbusters 2.0: Combatting coastal erosion by cleverly constructed mussel beds | Compendium Coast and Sea

Coastbusters 2.0: Combatting coastal erosion by cleverly constructed mussel beds

Over the past three years, the first Coastbusters project carried out tests with three potentially interesting organisms as reinforcers of the low-water line, namely seaweed and seagrass beds, mussel beds and shellfishing worms. Their findings are summarized in this documentary clip.

The follow-up project Coastbusters 2.0 now continues on the most interesting track and examines the feasibility of mussels as bio-builders. In concrete terms, the researchers are looking for answers to the questions:

  • How can the mussels be better fixed to the bottom after they have been caught by ropes hanging in the water?
  • To what extent do mussel beds affect the surrounding seabed?
  • What is the critical area and modularity of such a system?
  • What interventions help the formation and survival of artificial mussel beds?
  • To what extent can biodegradable materials be used?
  • What is the added value of reefs in terms of biodiversity and ecosystem services?

Coastbuster 2.0 is being tested in two zones. A first test reef is located 2 km off the coast, where it is less affected by severe weather conditions. The second test reef is located 5 km into the sea, beyond a sandbank, and is more susceptible to severe weather conditions. This makes it possible to compare the formation and settlement of mussel reefs in various environments.

The financial support for Coastbusters 2.0 comes from the Flanders Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO), as part of the innovation roadmaps of the spearhead cluster the Blue Cluster. The research partners are the Flemish dredging companies DEME and Jan De Nul, the technical textile company Sioen and the public research institutes ILVO and VLIZ.

Within this framework, VLIZ will use its marine robotics to monitor the large-scale evolution of mussel reefs using high-resolution acoustic mapping techniques (multibeam, side scan sonar), as well as develop 'smart moorings' to investigate the small-scale dynamics of the reef.


(c) Image article: Coastbusters