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

Physical, geomorphological and chemical habitat in the North Sea

Hydrography (tides, currents, temperature, salinity, stratification), geomorphology (sediment composition, bed forms) and chemistry (nutrients, carbon, pollutants) of the North Sea are determining conditions for the ecosystem.

Therefore, data gathering, analysis and modelling of these processes are a necessary and integral part of all studies carried out in the North Sea. Current studies show that North Sea waters are getting more turbid and stratified, and nutrient ratios are changing. So, we study the dynamics of suspended particulate matter in the North Sea waters, how this relates to sediment composition and physical processes, and to small- and medium-scale geomorphological structures on the seabed. Also, the impact of the organisms living in the sediment on sediment-water exchanges of nutrients and particles is studied. The transformation of carbon components as  methane and its fate in the food web are studied.