Building with Nature: Resilient Coastlines for Our Cities and Ecosystems

Join MIT graduate students James Vincent Brice and Autumn Deitrick in a hands-on wave flume demonstration to learn about water wave mechanics and the way coastal ecosystems like mangrove forests, salt marshes, seagrass meadows and oyster reefs protect our shorelines in the face of global climate change.

Climate change poses a significant threat to coastal cities across the globe. In order to protect communities from the effects of sea-level-rise and severe storms, coastal engineers build hard infrastructure like seawalls, dikes, and groins. Although these structures can be effective, they often have a negative impact on human and non-human coastal communities by destroying tidal regimes and restricting access to the waterfront.

Nature-based solutions for coastal adaptation seek to capitalize on the inherent physical resilience of natural coastal ecosystems like mangrove forests, salt marshes, seagrass meadows, and oyster reefs. By working to better understand the mechanisms behind these natural processes, we can protect our shorelines while providing a suite of critical ecosystem services.

Join us in a hands-on wave flume demonstration to learn more about how water waves interact with natural and man-made features near the coast. You will have the opportunity to design your own shoreline adaptation, choosing from a kit-of-parts that includes coastal defense measures from seagrass and oyster gabions (i.e., cages) to traditional seawalls. Pieces can be arranged in countless ways, allowing us to test various hypotheses, e.g. sparse vegetation vs. dense, or oyster gabion + vegetation vs. seawall as we work together to develop not only a greater physical intuition of water wave mechanics, but also an understanding of how various physical, ecological, and social processes in coastal regions are impacted by climate change.

Capacity is limited, be sure to reserve your free tickets below

Oct 6, 2022
06:00 PM
- 07:00 PM
MIT Museum: The Heide Education Suite
MIT Museum, Gambrill Center, 314 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02142
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About the

Cambridge Science Festival, the first of its kind in the United States, is a madcap celebration of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). A multifaceted, multicultural event, the Festival makes science accessible, interactive, and fun, highlighting the impact of STEAM in all our lives.

The Cambridge Science Festival was founded by and is produced by the MIT Museum.