Understanding the impact of bivalves on marine infrastructure


Understanding the impact of bivalves on marine infrastructure


  • Andrew Pomeroy
    Research Associate, Oceans Graduate School
  • Hongwei An
    Senior Lecturer, Civil Environmental and Mining Engineering


  • Stephen Murphy
  • Pascale Ketelaar 

Project Description

The aim of this project is to quantify the loading and drag of bivalve marine growth on ocean infrastructure and aquaculture systems. The project consists of two components (1) acquisition of bivalve marine growth imagery and subsequent reconstruction of the imagery into a 3D model, and (2) laboratory experiments to determine the forces and drag of bivalve marine growth using a test section printed (in 3D) from the reconstructed imagery model.  

The students will initially image a pile with bivalve marine growth in the Swan River using a customized underwater camera and an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The imagery will then be reconstructed to form a 3D model of the pile and compared. The model will be refined to make it suitable for both numerical analysis and 3D printing for laboratory analysis. The numerical analysis will be used in a future MPE Project.  

The students will then conduct a series of laboratory experiments to evaluate how forcing and drag is affected by the presence of bivalves on marine and aquaculture infrastructure. The refined 3D model will be printed to form a prototype model and embedded with strain gauges to determine the forcing imposed on the model. Flow will be measured using acoustic Doppler velocity meters (or similar). The experiments will be conducted at the UWA O-Tube in Shenton Park. 


This project will provide new knowledge on the forces and drag imposed on infrastructure by bivalve marine growth, which will have direct relevance to both design and maintenance of offshore infrastructure such as offshore energy production, near coastal infrastructure and aquaculture systems in both coastal and deep water. In addition to the science outputs, this novel project will use innovative 3D printing of natural systems as well as test reconstruction of 3D surfaces by both high resolution cameras as well as a ROV.