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Project: IN PLACE, part 1 - Automated Monitoring Network

Project details

Acronym : IN PLACE, part 1
Full project name : Automated Monitoring Network
Initiating organisation : NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Texel
Project leader : C. J. M. Philippart
Supporting organisation(s)NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Yerseke
Financing : nwo
Project number : 83908211
Start date : Oct 01, 2008
End date : Sep 30, 2013


Programme :ZKO - Carrying Capacity: Line 2 - National Programme Sea and Coastal Research (ZKO) - Carrying Capacity: Line 2 - Monitoring
Main project :IN PLACE - Integrated Network for Production and Loss Assessment in the Coastal Environment


Description :

Integrated Network for Production and Loss Assessment in the Coastal Environment (IN PLACE)

Dr Ir C.J.M. Philippart- NIOZ-MEE, Marine ecology
Dr H.G. Epping- NIOZ, Marine chemistry
Prof Dr Ir H. Ridderinkhof- NIOZ, Ferry observations
M.R. Wernand- NIOZ, Marine optics
Dr J.C. Kromkamp- NIOO-CEME, Algal ecology & production
Prof Dr P.M.J. Herman- NIOO-CEME, Spatial ecology
Dr H.J. van der Woerd- VU-IVM, Remote sensing
Dr M.A. Eleveld- VU-IVM, Geographical Information Systems
Dr W.T.B. van der Lee- RWS Waterdienst, RWS monitoring network
Dr H.M. van Aken- NIOZ, Hydrography
Prof Dr Ir H.J.W. de Baar- NIOZ, Marine chemistry
Dr M.A. Baars- NIOZ, Zooplankton ecology
Dr C.P.D. Brussaard- NIOZ, Virus ecology
Dr K.R. Timmermans- NIOZ, Phytoplankton ecology
Dr M.J.W. Veldhuis- NIOZ, Phytoplankton ecology
Ir M.J.N. Bergman- NIOZ, Benthic ecology
Drs G.C.A. Duineveld- NIOZ, Benthic ecology
Drs T.F. de Bruin- NIOZ, Data management
Ing M. Smit- NIOZ, Marine technology
Ir J. van den Broek- Ecomare, Public Outreach

In shallow seas, such as the Wadden Sea, phytoplankton and microphytobenthos are at the base of the food chain and are the source of food for most other marine organisms. The carrying capacity of ecosystems in terms of biomass per trophic level is highly dependent on the production, abundance, timing and assemblage composition of microscopic algae. Statistical analyses of long-term (> 30 yrs) field observations indicate that changes in nutrient loads were followed by changes in biomass, in species composition, and in the productivity of phytoplankton. The spatially and temporally scattered observations to date on primary production and biomass of higher trophic levels suggest that the carrying capacity of coastal ecosystems, such as the Wadden Sea, is largely under bottom-up control, i.e. photosynthesis. Despite the eminent role of primary production in setting the upper bound to the carrying capacity of the Wadden Sea, consistent measurements of pelagic primary production are limited to a single station only, whereas data on benthic primary production are virtually lacking.
Through this proposal, a 2192 k€ grant is requested for setup, maintenance, and exploitation of a monitoring network of two permanent stations in the western Wadden Sea, and one ferry box in the Marsdiep tidal inlet. This network will monitor the western-most basin of the Dutch Wadden Sea, the only basin for which coherent long-term records on hydrography, nutrients, phytoplankton primary production and macrozoobenthos are available. A selection of meteorological, hydrological, physical, chemical and biological state variables will be monitored, using sensor packages that have proven successful in existing long-term monitoring programs in coastal environments. Fluorometric techniques will be used in situ to monitor microalgal biomass and production after calibration against standard techniques. Quarterly surveys will be organized to measure phytoplankton and microphytobenthos primary production and for additional mapping of water column and sediment characteristics. Basin-wide assessment of phototrophic biomass and sediment characteristics will be obtained from satellite observations and airborne images. Algorithms will be developed for interpolation of field data and satellite images, yielding basin-wide estimates of benthic and pelagic primary production7. Results will be tailored to support habitat studies of higher trophic levels. After quality assessment and calibration, the monitoring data will be made available to the public, using the infrastructure and expertise of the NIOZ’ Data Management Group. The resulting longterm, open access database will provide the community of coastal researchers with the key variables to address specific products (e.g., Water Framework Directive) and research questions. These questions will be detailed in parallel research proposals focusing on main rate variables, noticeably the basin-wide assessment of primary production, of carbon and nutrient dynamics, of particle transport including larval transport, and of erosion and sedimentation balance; all key processes in determining the carrying capacity of the western Wadden Sea.
The requested budget for this program of 2192 k€ includes the purchase of automated sensors (628 k€), the construction and maintenance of the automated network (155 k€), the research costs of the field surveys and remote sensing (255 k€), and personnel costs for technicians in charge of design and setup the automated sensor network (1 technician for 1 yr), testing and maintenance of the automated sensors (1 technician for 5 yrs), data quality control and output editing (½ technician for 5 yrs), field-survey sampling and analyses (1 technician for 4 yrs), and for PostDocs for the intercalibration of raw sensor data and field surveys (1 PostDoc for 3 yrs) and intercalibration of calibrated sensor data, aerial surveys and satellite images (1 PostDoc for 3 yrs). If successful, the network proposed, will gradually be extended to cover the entire Wadden Sea and will be further tuned and integrated to existing networks in surrounding waters, e.g. the Trilateral Monitoring and Assessment Program (coordinated by the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat).