UCF researchers design oyster reefs to help Florida coastlines, storm protection
A group of University of Central Florida researchers are working to protect reefs with a new research project.
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Scientists said they are creating oyster-based shoreline protection that is self-repairing and biological.
The project includes other researchers across the United States and Australia, and $12.6 million was approved to support the study.
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According to the university, these structures will mimic reefs and help reduce coastal flooding and storm damage.
Kelly Kibler, an associate professor in UCF’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Constructional Engineering, is leading UCF’s part in the research.
“This type of natural infrastructure design project is important, especially to a state like Florida that is vulnerable to climate change impacts and rising sea levels,” Kibler said.
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UCF said Kibler’s group would monitor the 50-meter reef installations and see how organisms and the habitat affect shoreline erosion over time.
Kibler said that if the oysters in the reefs survive, the project’s long-term impact will show that the structures could be used in communities worldwide.
The first structure is expected to be installed next year in St. Andrews Bay near Panama City.
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