The Wadden Sea is a Natura 2000 area and UNESCO World Heritage site. This protected region is rich in food and important for benthic fauna, fish, birds, and marine mammals. The Wadden Sea is also used for fishing, gas and salt mining, and recreation.
Since the 1970s, Wageningen Marine Research has been collecting data on benthic fauna, birds, seals, porpoises, fish, and salt marshes for the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. These long-term data series are used to track developments in the region. Using in-depth studies such as on behaviour, spatial use, age structure, biodiversity, and energy budgets, we attempt to gain insight into the causes of the observed changes. By doing so, we can better understand the influence of human use and natural dynamics on the system.
Better knowledge of Wadden Sea dynamics provides better insight into the potential for human use and the influence of climate change. Our ecological monitoring and ecosystem research serve as the foundation for effective Wadden Sea management.