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02/06/24 EVELYN TICKLE’S FIRM GROW OYSTER REEFS IS BUILDING SELF-HEALING COASTAL DEFENSE INFRASTRUCTURES

 

Awarded U.S. National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research funding.

 

USC Architecture faculty Evelyn Tickle and her firm GRoW Oyster Reefs, LLC have been awarded U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) research and development funding to evolve and scale the next generation of their biophilic concrete modular reef substrates, driving down costs, reducing embodied carbon, increasing production capacity.

 

Tickle is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, a serial entrepreneur, and serves as the principal investigator for this NSF SBIR project. She joined USC in Fall, 2022, bringing her research in biophilic design, ecosystem restoration, and the integration of multi-species habitat in construction materials to the School of Architecture.

 

Her approach to urban re-wilding challenges students to think about how their work can actively contribute to biodiversity, and how biomimetic design research can transform the construction industry and public policy. Raising awareness of the relationships of building form and material composition to climate change, her studio teaching draws on her extensive experience as a specialist in biomimicry and a concrete fabricator.   

 

The oyster, a keystone species, in decline by 85% since the 1850’s, has been protecting coastlines around the world for thousands of years. GRoW Oyster Reefs’ products work with the oyster to build self-healing coastal defense infrastructures, attenuating wave energy and sequestering carbon. For the same price as rip-rap, GRoW modular reef building products can be deployed to protect shorelines and restore aquatic ecosystems in intertidal and sub-tidal zones, working with, not against nature, producing self-healing infrastructures that ensure long term resilience. Recent innovations include the design of new artificial reef substrates for use offshore in deep water, attracting cold water corals and sponges, and sustaining a diverse aquatic ecosystem.

 

 

Image: GRoW Reef Tile, after 1.5 years underwater in the Chesapeake Bay

Credit: GRoW Oyster Reefs, LLC

 
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