Research database

SHIEELD:Assessing the value of eelgrass in nature-based coastal defence

24 months (2024)
Principal investigator(s):
Project type:
UE-funded research - H2020 - Excellent Science - Marie Curie
Funding body:
Project identification number:
PoliTo role:
Sole Contractor


Coasts worldwide are experiencing ever-increasing flood risk and coastal erosion. To simultaneously enhance the efficiency of coastal defence and improve the ecological status of coastlines, the scientific community has recently proposed the use of nature-based solutions. Eelgrass canopies have the potential to contribute to coastal defence by attenuating waves and stabilizing sediments so that coastal erosion is reduced. However, the value of eelgrass in nature-based solutions has never been assessed adequately. The ambitious goal of the SHIEELD project is to assess the protective value of eelgrass in coastal defence. To achieve this goal SHIEELD will investigate: - The flow resistance and wave attenuation of eelgrass canopies with laboratory experiments in an open-channel facility and using eelgrass surrogates scaled following comprehensive similarity considerations, a novel device to measure the drag force at a patch scale, flow diagnostic techniques and wave gages; - The effects of eelgrass below and aboveground biomass on sediment mobility with laboratory experiments and a dedicated field campaign using an innovative portable flume. The project will develop novel tools to estimate eelgrass contribution to coastal defence in a range of hydraulic and environmental conditions. Findings of SHIEELD will be translated towards a policy brief so that water managers and policymakers can take more-informed decisions in the context of nature-based solutions. The proposed fellowship will enable a strong interdisciplinary collaboration between the applicant, a researcher with experience in flow-vegetation interactions, and the supervisors, an expert in environmental fluid mechanics, and a world leader in nature-based solutions for coastal defence. During this fellowship the applicant will undertake specific and advanced training to enhance his scientific, transferable and networking skills, and empower his career for a tenure track position or a managerial role.



ERC sectors

PE8_3 - Civil engineering, architecture, maritime/hydraulic engineering, geotechnics, waste treatment
PE10_8 - Oceanography (physical, chemical, biological, geological)
PE3_14 - Fluid dynamics (physics)
PE8_5 - Fluid mechanics, hydraulic-, turbo-, and piston engines

Sustainable Development Goals

Obiettivo 13. Promuovere azioni, a tutti i livelli, per combattere il cambiamento climatico*|Obiettivo 15. Proteggere, ripristinare e favorire un uso sostenibile dell’ecosistema terrestre


Total cost: € 183,473.28
Total contribution: € 183,473.28
PoliTo total cost: € 183,473.28
PoliTo contribution: € 183,473.28