The Solent Forum

Working in partnership for the future

Tidal Pools at Spur Redoubt, Portsmouth. Photo courtesy of Coastal Partners.

BBS Hub: Glossary of Terms


Biodiversity is defined as ‘the variability among living organisms from all sources including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part.

Eco Engineering

Eco-engineering is the application of ecological ideas to the design of artificial infrastructure. In the marine context, it involves observing the coastal ecosystem, identifying those features which allow natural biodiversity to flourish, and incorporating them into the design of seawalls, breakwaters, and other coastal structures.

Infrastructure Terms


Barriers built to protect the coast or a harbour from wave energy.


The line along which the sea meets the land.This can mean either natural (e.g. rocky shore or muddy shore) or man-made shoreline (e.g. a harbour, marina or pier).


Structures designed to reduce erosion due to drift along the shore.

Ecological engineering

The design of sustainable ecosystems that have value to both humans and the environment. Enhancing biodiversity on artificial coastal structures is an example of ecological engineering.

Rock armour

A structure placed along the shoreline consisting of large boulders designed to dissipate wave energy and reduce coastal erosion.


A landing stage or small pier at which boats can dock or be moored.


A level quayside area to which a ship may be moored to load and unload.


A vertical wall or embankment erected to prevent the sea encroaching on or eroding an area of land.

Sheet piles

These are sections of sheet materials with interlocking edges that are driven into the ground to provide earth retention. Sheet piles are most commonly made of steel, but can also be formed of timber or reinforced concrete.

Enhancement Types

Textured tiles

These tiles are flat with a textured finish that provides microhabitat for a range of small species such as barnacle larvae and micro-algae.

Tiles with crevices/ledges

These tiles with crevices and ledges provide complex surfaces for marine life to attach to. They also provide refuges from predators and shelter from environmental stresses (e.g. drying out, temperature changes, waves).

Vertipools©/bolt-on rockpools

All sorts of marine life take refuge in rockpools when the tide goes out. These bolt-on rockpools are designed to mimic those habitats on seawalls.

Drilled pits

Drilling pits into flat rock surfaces can provide shelter and protection from predators for a range of small marine species (e.g. small crabs, snails).

Cut grooves

Cutting grooves into flat rock surfaces can also provide shelter and protection from predators for a range of small marine species (e.g. small crabs, snails).


This has a special texture and geometries that allow organisms such as algae, seaweed, periwinkles and mussels to colonise it much easier. Different varieties of ecoconcrete are available, examples being eco-concrete slabs and ‘EcoXblocks’, concrete blocks with unusual shapes and rough surfaces.

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