December Facebook Twitter Whatsapp Google Linkedin Email Researchers at Wageningen University & Research study the role of sea ice in food chains in the polar regions. Next to observations registered huddled in warm clothes from the bridge, the researchers are fishing with the ice net SUIT (Surface and Under Ice Trawl - SUIT). With this gear, the top layer of the water under the ice can be examined. The catch is used to study the amount and distribution of organisms in the ice-covered ocean. Counting birds requires a lot of knowledge and experience. For decades, our bird counting has given insight into the possible effects of changes in nature or of human intervention on populations of seabirds. Consider for example the development of offshore wind farms. Counting seabirds is a job for seasoned birdwatchers: they know every species, every feather pattern and shed stage, every call, the behavior, and also every non-seabird species. Researchers visit the Wadden islets of Richel and Griend in the birthing season of grey seals. They count and photograph the seal pups and females from a safe distance. This way, they are able to find out whether the females give birth in the same location each year. Wageningen Marine Research studies the problems related to plastic debris in the marine environment, also referred to as Plastic Soup. Seabirds and other marine wildlife may ingest plastic debris or become entangled in it. The Ecosystems department of Wageningen Marine Research is founder of a permanent monitoring program of the amount of plastic in stomachs of Northern Fulmars in the North Sea. This research approach has been copied into the European Marine Strategy Directive (MSFD) as a basis for litter monitoring in other European seas.