Worldwide, wadden systems - areas with coastal mudflats that fall dry during low tide - are rare. Thanks to their high productivity, however, these intertidal areas accommodate large numbers of the world’s young fish and migratory birds, and provide great opportunities for human use of natural resources such as fisheries and aquaculture.
Wadden ecosystems and ecosystem services are under pressure. In densely populated areas, coastal lines are redrawn to make way for housing, infrastructures and aquaculture, or for dikes as protection against the sea. Even the most remote areas suffer from pollution and climate change. Sustainable solutions for managing intertidal areas require multi-disciplinary scientific knowledge and practical knowhow.
For more than 100 years, multidisciplinary teams of the NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research have gained specific insights and expertise on the functioning of the Wadden Sea. More recently, studies in other tidal areas in Mauritania, Australia, Alaska, Oman and China have broadened the expertise, including the design and deployment of innovative monitoring technology.
Experts and data
The Wadden Systems Research Centre (WSRC) of NIOZ supplies easy access to those who would like to make use of the expert teams, equipment, technology and protocols as developed for a variety of tidal environments. The centre runs a dataportal that provides open access to more than 10.000 data sets on long-term field observations in coastal seas. International courses and training in the theory and practice of research in wadden systems are presently developed.
Wadden Systems research facilities include:
outdoor: two vessels, an automated monitoring platform, and a mobile bird observatory.
indoor: several laboratories, and experimental shorebird facility, a valve gape monitor and a sediment meter.