Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

Developing knowledge to preserve and restore coastal ecosystems

Coastal waters with healthy seagrass meadows, mangrove forests and salt marshes belong to the most productive ecosystems in the world, and also have a high economical value. They provide food and shelter for various organisms, including young life stages of various commercially important fish species. They contribute to coastal protection and store considerable amounts of carbon.

At this moment, seagrasses, mangroves and salt marshes are rapidly disappearing on a global scale. Proper management requires a mixture of measures aimed at maintaining existing ecosystems, restoring lost ecosystems and mitigation measures for threatened ecosystems. Experience has learned that such management measures will only be successful when based on fundamental insight in the processes affecting these ecosystems. We want to contribute to preserving seagrasses, mangroves and salt marshes, by dedicated research around the globe (i.e., the Netherlands, Mediterranean, and tropical regions). We specifically aim at understanding basic mechanisms affecting the establishment, growth and disappearance of these vegetation types, and to derive indicators and critical threshold values that can be translated in management objectives.

The research is done by a combination of techniques, including field studies in exotic places, as well as studies in the flume where we can control all environmental conditions, including current and flow.

Within this research theme we offer several topics, each with the opportunity to tune it towards your specific interest. The possible topics will however strongly depend on the timing of the research.


For further information and to apply, please contact Prof. Dr. Tjeerd Bouma (