Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Royal Netherlands
Institute for Sea Research

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My PhD project is part of the SANDBOX project, which aims to contribute knowledge and tools to facilitate the design and implementation of sustainable solutions and methodologies for offshore operations such as sand mining and wind farm construction.  I study the 2-way feedback between benthic macrofauna and geomorphology of the North Sea seafloor to determine the interactions of benthic organisms along various seabed features, and how they might influence processes such as ripple formation, erosion and incorporation of fines into the sediment.  These investigations are ongoing through both field campaigns and laboratory experiments, and anticipated to be continued in the future with the racetrack flume and/or additional cruises.  Some research questions to address include:   (a) Macrofauna distribution patterns (abundance and diversity, etc.) along various bedforms types, (b) Categorization of macrofauna into useful functional groups, (c) The influences of these dominant groups on the sediment parameters, which can affect seabed stability, (d) The influence of shell valves on ripple development and migration and (e) How offshore construction can be modified to minimize environmental impacts and enable recovery of target communities.

storm.jpgStormy conditions during the first leg of the June cruise to the North Sea on the RV-Pelagia.


Cheng, C.H., K. Soetaert and B.W. Borsje. 2020. Sediment Characteristics over Asymmetrical Tidal Sand Waves in the Dutch North Sea. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 8: 1–16. doi:10.3390/jmse8060409

Damveld, J.H., Reijden, K.J., Cheng, C., Koop, L., Haaksma, L.R., Walsh, C.A.J., Soetaert, K., Borsje, B.W., Govers, L.L., Roos, P.C., Olff, H. and S.J.M.H. Hulscher. 2018. Video transects reveal that tidal sand waves affect the spatial distribution of benthic organisms and sand ripples. Geophys. Res. Lett. 45, 11,837-11,846. doi:10.1029/2018GL079858

Cheng, C.H., M. Huettel and R.A. Wildman. 2014. Ebullition-enhanced solute transport in coarse-grained sediments.  Limnology and Oceanography. 59(5), 1733-1748.

LaPolla, J.S., C. Cheng and B.L. Fisher. 2010. Taxonomic Revision of the ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) genus Paraparatrechina in the Afrotropical and Malagasy Regions.  Zootaxa. 2387,1-27