Plain English Summary
Marine ecologist Henk van der Veer studies the functioning of coastal areas as breeding and raising grounds for various fish species. ‘From a historical perspective, the Wadden Sea has always played an important role in the life cycle of flatfish that occur in the North Sea, such as plaice, flounder, sole and turbot. With the gigantic pump that ebb and flood effectively form, many fish larvae always came to the coast and entered the Wadden Sea. In the past, there were far more adult flatfish in the Wadden Sea than there are now. Plaice and flounder grew up there until the age of three or even four years. Currently, those fish age classes are absent and the majority of young plaice now already leave the Wadden Sea in the summer. That has probably got nothing to do with the conditions on the mudflats being bad. The conditions along the North Sea coastal zone simply seem to be suitable enough as well.’
‘In my research, I am trying to discover what drives the occurrence of the various life stages of different fish species. For example, how does a plaice, which likes sandy floors, use the mudflats compared to a flounder that seeks more muddy floors or a sole that prefers deeper waters? That occurrence of different life stages of flatfish is, of course, an important condition for other animal species higher up in the food chain, such as birds and seals.’
‘Due to global warming, the distribution of various flatfish species is shifting. In the future, the Wadden Sea will be a less suitable area for young plaice to grow up, but it will become more suitable for young sole. Also, the life cycle of various fish species will become shorter; as cold-blooded animals, they grow from larva to adult fish faster in warm water. That not only has consequences for other animals that live from flatfish; the fishing industry will also need to take this knowledge into account. For example, in the warmer seawater, the spawning grounds of fish in the North Sea will also shift. The fishing industry should already leave these areas undisturbed.’Read more +
Functioning of coastal systems, with focus on fish communities
From my start at NIOZ, research on fishes has been a leitmotiv thread in my carrier. After a PhD on recruitment in juvenile plaice in the Wadden Sea, research has been extended to other species and expanded to other areas with the central theme: the functioning of coastal systems as nursery areas for fish species.
From tropical to (sub)arctic coastal areas, habitat quality and quantity in terms of carrying capacity has been studied for a variety of flatfish and other species, interlinked by the analysis to what extend latitudinal patterns in recruitment mechanisms are operating.
The common tokin in all these sudies has been energy, more specificly, the energetics of a species in relation to the environment studied by means of Dynamc Energy Budgets. In combination with long-term (50-years) observations of the fish fauna of the western Wadden Sea from fyke net catches, long term trends are analysed with the aim to analyse the processes determining the carrying capacity of coastal systems and to predict the impact of climate changes.
From 2017: Head, Department of Coastal systems, Guest scientist RUG
From 2013: Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Sea Research
From 2008: Head, Department of Marine Ecology at Royal NIOZ, Guest scientist RUG
2006-2007: Head ad interim, Department of Marine Ecology at Royal NIOZ
From 2000: Deputy head, Department of Marine Ecology at Royal NIOZ
From 1996: Senior scientist, Department of Marine Ecology at Royal NIOZ
From 1994: Senior scientist, Department of Coastal Systems at Royal NIOZ
1991-2012: Adjunct associate-professor of Zoology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, U.S.A., Adjunct associate-professor of Marine Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, U.S.A.
From 1988: Employed as scientist part-time at the Department of Applied Science (50%) and at the Department of Coastal Systems (50%) at Royal NIOZ
1987-1988: Employed as scientist at the Department of Applied Science at Royal NIOZ
1986-1987: Employed as scientist at the project group 'Ecological Research Wadden Sea and North Sea' at Royal NIOZ
1979-1985: Ecological research on the recruitment of 0-group plaice in the Wadden Sea, employed by Organization of Pure Scientific Research, carried out at royal NIOZ (PhD project)
1978-1979: Ecological research on the effects of dredging in the Dutch Wadden Sea, employed by the Dutch government
Van der Veer HW (1986). Immigration, settlement and density-dependent mortality of a larval and early post-larval 0-group plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) population in the western Dutch Wadden Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 29, 223-236.
Freitas V, Cardoso JFMF, Peck MA, Kooijman SALM, Van der Veer HW (2010). Analysis of physiological performance of North Atlantic marine organisms by means of interspecies differences in DEB parameters. Phil Trans Royal Soc B 365, 3553-3565.
Hunsicker ME, Ciannelli L, Bailey KM, Buckel JA, White JW, Link JS, Essington TE, Gaichas S, Anderson T, Brodeur RD, Chan K-S, Chen K, Englund G, Frank KA, Freitas V, Hixon M, Hurst T, Johnson D, Kitchell JF, Reese D, Rose GA, Sjodin H, Sydeman WJ, van der Veer HW, Vollset K, Zador S (2011). Functional responses and scaling in marine predator-prey interactions: contemporary issues and emerging concepts. Ecology Letters 14, 1288-1299.
Van der Veer HW, Freitas V, Leggett WC (2015). Recruitment level and variability. In: Gibson RN, Nash RDM, Geffen AJ, van der Veer HW (Eds.) Flatfishes. Biology and exploitation. Fish and Aquatic Resources Ser 9, Blackwell Oxford, London, 185-206.
Van der Veer HW, Dapper R, Henderson PA, Jung AS, Philippart CJM, Witte JIJ, Henderson PA (2015). Long–term changes of the marine fish fauna in the temperate western Dutch Wadden: degradation of trophic structure and nursery function. Estua Coastal Shelf Sci 155, 156-166.
Scientific results collected together with 45 master students and 2 post-docs, have critalized in more than 85 publications in peer-reviewed journals and books.
1986: PhD 'Regulation of the population of 0-group plaice (Pleuronectes platessa L.) in the Wadden Sea' defense, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
1971-1977: Master Landbouw Hogeschool Wageningen (presently Wageningen University)
1966-1971: HBS-b Christelijk Lyceum Veenendaal
2012: INFOWEB German-Dutch Duits – Nederlandse collaboration (250 k€)
2010: Waddensleutels (200 k€)
2009: DELTARES Coelenterate ecology (220 k€)
2008: NWO-ZKO fish monitoring (1.110 k€)
2008: NWO-ZKO hypothesis driven (250 k€)
2008: IFREMER AquaDEB (5 k€)
2007: IFREMER AquaDEB (5 k€)
2007: EU RECLAIM (90 k€)
2007: NAM monitoring (100 k€)
2006: PRODUS subcontractor (47 k€)
2006: Portuguese Science Foundation PhD project (122 k€)
2005: MV2 Maasvlakte 2 (80k€)
2005: Portuguese Science Foundation PhD project (122 k€)
2004: Proceedings Flatfish Symposium VI (20 k€)
2003: Portuguese Science Foundation PhD project (122 k€)
2002: MARE 3, Flyland (85 k€)
2001: Proceedings Flatfish Symposium V (20 k€)
2001: Portuguese Science Foundation PhD project (122 k€)
2000: Carrying capacity Western Scheldt Euro (35 k€)
2012: V. Freitas; Long-term changes in Wadden Sea fish fauna (ZKO-project)
2011-2014: J. Campos; Cannibalism as regulating mechanism in the recruitment of crustaceans over their distributional range in European waters (in cooperation with CIIMAR)
2009-2012: F. Martinho; Biogeographical patterns in nursery habitat quality for flatfishes: variations in fish condition, spawning season and physiological performance
2007-2010: J.F.M.F. Cardoso; Validation of age determination techniques in calcified structures (in cooperation with CIIMAR)
2017-2021: S. Poiesz; Long term changes in the Wadden Sea fish fauna: causes and consequences
PhD defense planned for 2021; Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
2012-2016: S. Jung; The impact of biological invasions on the Balgzand food web in the Wadden Sea (INFOWEB); PhD denfece planned for 2017; Utrecht University
2011-2015: J. Jouta; Spatial and temporal shifts in diets composition of predators Wadden Sea top predators (birds, fishes, crabs) in relation to intertidal mussel banks; PhD defence 2016; Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
2010-2014: L. Van Walraven; Natural and anthropogenic impact on North Sea gelatinous zooplankton population dynamics: implications for ecosystem structure and functioning; PhD defence 2015; Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
2009-2013: E.M. van der Zee; A regime shift of benthic organisms in the Wadden Sea: causes and consequences for higher trophic levels; PhD defence 2014; Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
2013: C.J. Camphuysen; A historical ecology of two closely related gull species (Laridae): multiple adaptations to a man-made environment; PhD defence 2013; Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
2007-2011: S. Santos; Physiological performance of the Peppery furrow shell Scrobicularia plana (da Costa 1778) along the European coast; PhD defence 2012; Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
2005-2009; V. Freitas; Climate-induced changes in estuarine predator-prey systems: a DEB approach; PhD defence 2011; Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
2002-2006: J. Campos; Latitudinal trends in the role of brown shrimp Crangon crangon in the functioning of the ecosystems in coastal European estuaries; PhD defence 2009; Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
2000-2004: J.F.M.F. Cardoso; Intra- and interspecies comparison of energy flow in various bivalve species in Dutch coastal waters by means of dynamic energy budgets; PhD defence 2007; Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
1992-1997: M.J.M. Reichert; On the life history of the fringed flounder Etropus crossotus. A small tropical flatfish in the South Atlantic Bight; PhD defense 2002; Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
1992-1996: P.J. de Goeij; Buying depth as a trade-off in the bivalve Macoma balthica; PhD defence: 2001; Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
1992-1996: P.A.Walker; Fleeting images. Dynamics of North Sea ray populations; PhD defence 1998; Universiteit van Amsterdam
1991-1995: L.J. Bolle; Recruitment in North Sea dab Limanda limanda; PhD defence 2013; Wageningen University
1985-1989: F. Hovenkamp; On the growth of larval plaice in the North Sea; PhD defence 1991; Rijksuniversiteit Groningen