Plymouth Breakwater

Completed in 1812, the 1,560m long stone breakwater protects Plymouth Sound.

It is 13m wide at the top, 65m wide at the base and stands in approximately 10m of water.

On the seaward side of the breakwater, there are large sacrificial concrete blocks which are periodically deposited to enhance protection. During the casting of these blocks, a depression is created on top of each unit, where an iron loop is embedded into the concrete. This depression creates a novel artificial rock pool habitat.

URBANE research on habitat enhancement

The URBANE team are working with the Ministry of Defence and the engineers who cast the sacrificial concrete blocks on Plymouth Breakwater (SERCO). WE are taking advantage of the large sacrificial blocks which are periodically placed on the seaward side of Plymouth Breakwater throughout the year.

We have drilled small pits of differing diameters and distances from each other to measure the diversity and community structure of colonising epibiota.

We are also manipulating artificial pool habitats on the surface of the blocks to assess the effects of differing area and volume of colonising epibiota.