Functional biodiversity in a Changing sedimentary Environment: Implications for biogeochemistry and food webs in a managerial setting

Coastal ecosystems are facing many pressures affecting ecosystem health. Major human activities include the installation of offshore wind farms (introduction of man-made hard substrates in sandy environments), beam trawling, aggregate extraction, dredging and dumping, all resulting in a fining of the sediment. FaCE-It investigates the effects of the “hardening” and the “fining” of coastal marine ecosystems on a local (Belgian part of the North Sea) and regional scale (Southern Bight of the North Sea) on food-web structure, carbon-flows and biogeochemical cycling through a combination of field work, lab-experiments and modeling. Our results will inform the policy level on how these pressures affect the environmental status of coastal ecosystems and how they affect the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Partners: Ghent University (BE), Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (BE), Liège University (BE), Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NL)