Description of the current status of sediment structures, bentho-pelagic habitats and ecological communities
The overall aim of the project is a comprehensive description of the current status of the three Natura 2000 sites in the North Sea; Doggerbank, Sylter Outer Reef and Borkum Reef Ground. The current status can then be used to estimate long-term effects of the mobile bottom-contact fisheries (MGF) exclusion on habitats and communities. The project focuses on the following research objectives:
- Temporal and spatial high resolution recordings of fisheries effects on the a) physical, b) biological and c) chemical status of the Natura 2000 sites
- Investigation of the spatial and temporal variability of benthic communities
- Development of a holistic representation based on food web models to determine the structure and functioning of the study sites
- Quantification of plankton productivity and bentho-pelagic coupling
- Recording of microbial communities in sediments, on hard substrates and benthic macroinvertebrates
- Quantification of the benthic fluxes in the sediment
- Modelling of changes in benthic fluxes due to fisheries exclusion
- Test and implementation of alternative, non-invasive sampling methods and establishment of monitoring stations to record the communities for future monitoring strategies in the protected areas
- Analysing the structure and function of each study sitesbased on a holistic concept that considers the entire ecosystem
What is the Benthos?
Communities living in or on the seafloor are called Benthos.
And bentho-pelagic coupling?
Bentho-pelagic coupling is the exchange of benthic communities with the water column above the sea floor, the pelagic zone.