Sea & Coastal Research

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Project: OPTIMON 1 - Integrated monitoring of the carrying capacity of coastal waters

Project details

Acronym : OPTIMON 1
Full project name : Integrated monitoring of the carrying capacity of coastal waters
Initiating organisation : Deltares
Project leader : R. Laane
Supporting organisation(s)-
Financing : nwo
Project number : 83908220
Start date : Mar 01, 2009
End date : Jun 30, 2014


Programme :ZKO - Carrying Capacity: Line 2 - National Programme Sea and Coastal Research (ZKO) - Carrying Capacity: Line 2 - Monitoring
Main project :-


Description :

The North Sea and the coastal areas as the Wadden Sea and southwest Netherlands are exceptional areas. The characteristics are under pressure during the last hundred years due to increasing human influences. The negative effects have initiated (inter)national action. The central aim of the (inter)national policy is to maintain the specific ecological characteristics and to be able to explore the systems. In the 1970s the monitoring of the water quality started with the aim to describe the state, to follow the effectiveness of measures and to forecast developments. It is recognized that knowledge about the state of the ecosystem (monitoring) is essential to detect and forecast the dynamic response of the carrying capacity by for instance climate change, fisheries and eutrophication/ oligophication processes. Despite the relatively long record and the broad effort of scientists, policy makers and managers, the current monitoring programs of the Dutch coastal waters are yet under pressure, because they are expensive and essentially the methodology and logistics have not been updated since the 1970s. Also the outcome doesn’t fulfil the information needs of policy makers and managers. Therefore, a major renewal of the Dutch coastal monitoring strategy seems desirable. During the past few decades important technological and scientific developments have taken place to advance monitoring efforts. New on-line instruments have been developed for scientific and applied monitoring purposes. Remote sensing combined with GIS analysis has enriched the spatial information available to coastal managers. New molecular techniques have enabled recognition of a wide array of marine microorganisms and their activities. Advances in computation power, statistical techniques, datamodel integration and data-assimilation procedures have improved the analysis of monitoring data. From a scientific point of view more is known about the behavior of complex open dynamic systems. However, these new techniques, insights and methods have not yet been applied to optimize the monitoring programs for the water quality and carrying capacity of the Dutch coastal zone. The current project aims at reaching two goals:

  1. Scientific analysis of temporal and spatial trends and fluctuations of nutrients, suspended matter, phytoplankton and where possible zooplankton and shellfish in existing time-series data of the Dutch coastal waters, using recent advances in (nonlinear) statistical techniques and processbased models,
  2. Design of an advanced, cost-effective monitoring network of the Dutch coastal waters for the next decades, integrating new methodologies and techniques with existing monitoring efforts. The area covers the Wadden Sea, the Dutch coastal zone and the estuarine waters in southwest of the Netherlands. There is a close collaboration between the other NWO-ZKO projects. In addition to its scientific goals, the proposal brings together scientists, coastal managers, and policy makers, by creating a national team and strengthening the Dutch position in international marine organizations.

Results will be disseminated through scientific publications, symposia, and participation in international organizations as the EU, TMAP, ICES, EUROGOOS and OSPAR. The interim results and the final results will give policy makers and managers various options to choose for an integrated, innovative and effective monitoring network for the coming decades.