Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

Sensor technology

Innovative sensor technology for studying ecology, physics & landscape formation.

Optical & Acoustic SED-sensor

The NIOZ has a strong background in developing innovative measuring technologies. Whereas this originated from deep-sea research, we more recently have focussed on instruments that are also useful for application in intertidal and shallow water systems like delta’s, coasts and wadden systems. This has resulted in the new development of a number of sensors described below.

Recent work has taught us that the sediment dynamics on a tidal flat is highly important in determining the establishment and survival of many ecosystem engineering species, and the long-term dynamics of ecosystems see Bouma et al (2016). However, unless you had lot’s of money to buy very expensive equipment OR a surplus of people going to measure the bed-level on a daily bas, getting this type of information was impossible. For that reason, NIOZ developed affordable sensors that are able to measure the bed-level with a 2 mm-resolution: the so called SED-sensor (Sedimentation Erosion Dynamic sensor).

We started with an optical system, that measure the bed-level with light-sensitive cells. For a detailed description, please see Hu et al (2015) or Hu et al. (2018). To improve the costs-performance ratio, we further developed this into an acoustic instrument, which is also able to measure the waves. This instrument is currently in the testing phase.

Biophysical sensor

The biophysical sensor device is developed as a long-term standalone data logger for measuring a range of ecological, physical relevant parameters like: shell opening/closing (to monitor feeding behaviour), flow direction, waves, plant movement under waves and temperature. For each of these observations, the sampling interval can be configured or completely disabled. This allows the user to tune the configuration for optimal resolution and battery usage. The instrument is currently in the testing phase.

If you are interested in using these instruments in your research, please contact Tjeerd Bouma by email (preferred). Tjeerd Bouma is a scientist specialised in understanding the dynamics of coastal ecosystems from a biophysical perspective, aimed at sustainable conservation & use.  In urgent matters, you can contact Tjeerd Bouma directly. 

T +31 (0)113 577 464