Analyzing ecosystem dynamics & optimizing grazing management
This project is part of the large integrated multidisciplinary All-Risk program, funded by STW, and which employs several PhD’s, post-docs and technicians. The overall aim of All-Risk is to address key knowledge gaps that need to be resolved in order to implement the new risk standards in the Dutch flood protection program. This imposes questions ranging from legal, governance, engineering to ecology. The joined NIOZ-RUG research is focussed on the ecology and biogeomorphology of the Wadden Sea coasts.
Adequate management of foreshores along the Wadden Sea dikes may safe huge costs of ‘hard’ coastal protection through higher and stronger dikes. The implementation of such foreshore management measures (including eco-engineering) is however hampered by uncertainties about i) impact on natural values (protected species and habitats) and ii) the persistence of ecosystem-based safety during repeated storms. The aim of this project is to reduce these uncertainties by providing thorough understanding of management effects on the safety value, ecological status and ecosystem behavior (long-term dynamics), across connected intertidal habitats (e.g. mussel beds, seagrass meadows, tidal flats, salt marshes).
Within this project, we aim to address questions like (1) how will sequences of storms affect the wave attenuation by marshes, (2) how does nature-oriented grazing management affect the safety services and long-term stability of salt marsh and (3) can we develop nature-based management options for the tidal flats to stabilize marshes? To address these questions, we will, among other things, study a unique large-scale foreshore restoration project at Griend, making use of state-of-the-art instruments (field flumes, wave mesocosms, etc.), large datasets of previous projects and of remote sensing techniques. A PhD -student (full-time) and a technician (part–time) are appointed on the project.