Daniel Metcalfe's project

Falmouth University.

Daniel's prototype tiles.

Cross-species design: exploring the role of design in biodiversity conservation  

Falmouth University

The aim of this project by Falmouth University PhD student Daniel Metcalfe is to explore innovative design applications that build on knowledge regarding the colonisation of man-made surfaces by intertidal species.

The prevailing approach to coastal engineering has traditionally been to resist colonisation of artificial structures by marine species. However, colonising species may not always have a detrimental effect on the structures they colonise and in some cases may even have a protective effect.

Increasing concern over the state of global biodiversity is shifting the public debate and attitude towards our relationship with nonhuman species. There is a growing awareness of the need to redesign our human habitats in ways that would allow more species diversity. This approach to biodiversity conservation within human habitats is called reconciliation ecology.

Research in this field need not remain the sole concern of natural sciences. Approaching it from a design point of view could help develop new creative approaches to biodiversity conservation that don't rely solely on a physical separation between human and natural habitats.

The findings are expected to inform the design of new products and manufacturing processes, increasing the offer and ability to respond to the growing demand of clients for sustainable products.