Contribute to Our Research


Ecostructure is seeking diverse opinions, input, and information to help inform our research. Explore ways to help the project below through citizen science projects and surveys.

Quick Links

Click the icons to go directly to the surveys, or read more about them below.

Stories About Coastal Strutures

There are many different types of man-made structures along our coastlines such as seawalls, piers, slipways, piers, lighthouses, to name but a few. These structures links us to our maritime heritage in many different ways. They also provide communities with many benefits such as protection from storms, provide access to the sea for industry and transport and also for people to enjoy nature and get active.

The Ecostructure project is interested in learning why these structures are meaningful to people and their communities. We are looking for coastal enthusiasts to get involved in our online citizen science mapping activity. It’s really simple just map, post a photo and share some information about the structure, for example, what do you do there, perhaps you know some interesting facts or stories about its history or the kind of marine life that can be found there.

Seashore Snail Survey

Have you seen a dogwhelk, purple topshell or toothed topshell on the coast of Ireland or Wales? If you have then we want to know about it! We need citizen scientists in Ireland and Wales to explore their local rocky shores and coastal defences, recording dog whelks, toothed topshells and purple topshells wherever they find them. If you use a mobile phone, the Ecostructure Observatory web site will record the location of your records and will allow you to upload photographs so that our experts can confirm your species identification.

In the above video, Ecostructure project coordinator Joe Ironside of Aberystwyth University introduces the survey and shows how you can take your family out on a snail hunt while contributing valuable data in this citizen science project.

Learn more and upload your observations at the Ecostructure Observatory, via the button below.

Download the Seashore Snail Field Guide to help you search

In order to assist you in identifying the seashore snails of the UK and Ireland, we’ve created a guide that you can either print out and take with you to the seaside, or view on your mobile device. Learn how to identify topshells vs dogwhelks, and follow the included instructions on how to upload your observations with photos to the Observatory.

The guide is available in both English and Cymraeg.

Ecostructure Perception Survey

Ecostructure is exploring ways of building eco-sensitive designs into coastal structures such as marinas, harbours, sea walls, piers and breakwaters to benefit marine plants and animals. We have experiments along the Irish and Welsh coastlines where we are looking at the value of eco-sensitive designs for marine plants and animals. We are also interested in what people think about these experiments and their shoreline (the harbour, marina or natural coast) more generally. Help us understand what you value about your coast and what you think of our eco-engineering experiments by taking our 10 minute survey.

Coastal Structures Opinion Survey

Clean lines, or green lines: how do coastal sea walls and the things that grow on them change the way we see them? 

Ecostructure has a new survey seeking to understand attitudes towards coastal defence structures and the animals and seaweed that grow on them. In the survey, you will be presented with a series of images of coastal defence structures and will be asked which ones you prefer and how they make you feel. Your participation in this study will help us understand how the design of coastal structures affects the way that communities see and interact with them.