Marine Calendar 2023

This week calendar offers an impression of how marine science at Wageningen University & Research explores the potential of marine nature for improving and protecting the quality of life.

Mankind faces huge challenges to reverse biodiversity loss, reduce CO2-emissions, adapt to climate change, feed and facilitate the growing world population and fight inequality and poverty. The oceans already absorbed around 90% of the greenhouse-related global warming heat and 40% of the extra CO2 released, with consequences for life underwater such as bleaching and degradation of coral reefs.

The condition of the amazing underwater life of the North Sea is far less known and appreciated. This 'grey body of water' is used for sand, gas and oil mining, seafood harvesting, installing extensive wind farms and as ‘highway’ for huge container vessels. The ecology of the North Sea is yet paramount for current and future seafood ‘production’ and resilient marine biodiversity.

Fortunately, when given the opportunity to develop, marine nature will swiftly adapt to new conditions. Based on good ecological insights, we can facilitate recovery of habitat and species diversity, restore connectivity and enable mature food webs, all crucial to support human interests as well.

Prof. dr Tinka Murk, Chair of Marine Animal Ecology

January 2023

Week 1

In cooperation with fishers, WUR scientists study the migration patterns of sea bass and mullet in the Wadden Sea with telemetry.

Photo by Jena Edwards

Week 2

WUR scientists study migration patterns of reef sharks with a network of receivers and tagging sharks with acoustic transmitters in the Dutch Caribbean to evaluate conservation zones for nature management.

Photo by Guido Leurs

Week 3

WUR scientists study the ecosystem of the seasonally ice-covered Southern Ocean to investigate, among others, the impact of climate change on these unique species communities.

Photo by Susanne Kühn

Week 4

WUR scientists interact with artisanal fishers and other reef stakeholders to examine the societal impact of coral reef restoration in Shimoni, southeast coast of Kenya.

Photo by Joshua Wambugu

Week 5

Water is an increasingly scarce resource, also in the Netherlands. To relieve the competition for water for direct consumption, agriculture, nature and industry, WUR scientists seek ways to more often use brackish, salt or waste water instead of fresh water.

Photo by Jill Soedarso

February 2023

Week 6

Seawater is monitored for the presence of larvae of the European flat oyster to determine whether environmentally friendly structures in North Sea wind farms could successfully facilitate oyster reef development.

Photo by Wageningen Marine Research

Week 7

Artificial Intelligence approaches are being developed to automatically detect, identify and count species on high-definition aerial images, starting with seabirds and marine mammals.

Photo by BioConsult SH

Week 8

Climate change is threatening off-shore aquaculture, causing mortality of finfish and other aquatic organisms. In the project Fitfish, WUR scientists explore new methods to select fish for cardio-respiratory fitness.

Photo by Arjan Palstra

Week 9

With microsensors, scientists study physiological changes in coral polyps in real-time to better understand the processes leading to coral bleaching. Here, differences in oxygen levels are determined at very small spatial scales.

Photo by Nanne van den Heuvel

March 2023

Week 10

Scientists at WUR use the latest DNA analysis tools directly in the field. This allows on site detection of biodiversity from a range of samples, even directly from water.

Photo by Nanne van den Heuvel

Week 11

A Caribbean-wide die-off wiped out many populations of the sea urchin Diadema antillarum in 2022. Scientists study the impact of this die-off on settlement rates of this important herbivore; this recruit settled on a buoy.

Photo by Alwin Hylkema

Week 12

In the North Sea, anthropogenic activities compete for space and resources. WUR scientific research contributes to responsible management that facilitates natural biodiversity and ecological processes.

Photo by Reindert Nijland

Week 13

In the project Ocean Nexus, WUR social scientists study different values and nature perspectives in oyster restoration practices across Europe. This provides a basis for inclusive marine restoration policy.

Photo by Veerle Boekestijn

April 2023

Week 14

Weekly, thousands of eel larvae are produced at the Eel Reproduction Innovation Centre. Currently, the project focusses on improving larvae quality to perform successful feeding trials.

Photo by Mara Havinga

Week 15

WUR studies the use of serious games and other participatory approaches to enhance understanding about means and ways in which institutional learning in marine governance can be improved.

Photo by Sébastien Hervé

Week 16

Bird flu is causing a mass slaughter among sandwich terns and other shorebirds. WUR researchers ringed a group of surviving young sandwich terns late in the season to study population recovery.

Photo by Mardik Leopold

Week 17

WUR researchers study the socio-economic effects of policy in the North Sea on the fishing sector, the fish supply chain and the fishing regions.

Photo by Bea Deetman

May 2023

Week 18

Scientists from WUR analyze ingredients and contaminants in seaweed to investigate whether it is suitable for consumption. Seaweed might be a valuable resource in the protein transition.

Photo by Mirjam Klijnstra

Week 19

WUR scientists study how electromagnetic fields, generated when offshore produced power is transported via subsea power cables, could influence the very sensitive elasmobranchs (sharks, rays and skates).

Photo by Tinka Murk

Week 20

Through cuboid covers, respiration and calcification are measured to determine the influence of the Pacific oyster on the carbon content in the water of the Eastern Scheldt estuary.

Photo by Brenda Walles

Week 21

Researchers study the migration of juvenile eel (glass eel) along the Dutch coast using a mark-recapture program. The glass eels are caught, marked with ‘Visible Implant Elastomers’ and then released.

Photo by Ben Griffioen

Week 22

Using state-of-the-art camera technology, WUR scientists track swimming coral larvae to understand how they decide where to settle and build a new coral reef.

Photo by Tim Wijgerde

June 2023

Week 23

A mesocosm experiment shows that fish do ingest plastic beads - such as those that ended up at sea during the MSC Zoe container disaster - but seem to handle them as well as much larger shells that also pass through their intestine.

Edwin Foekema

Week 24

To provide a solid ecological foundation for sound leatherback sea turtle management in Indonesia, WUR researchers study the current policy, habitat use, nesting trends, and genetic structure of the populations.

Photo by Maslim As-singkily

Week 25

The LobStAR project is a partnership between research and the small-scale seasonal lobster fishermen in the Eastern Scheldt to develop an innovative knowledge system for stock assessment for the sector itself.

Photo by Jildou Schotanus

Week 26

Macroalgae are studied as biological indicators to assess the dissolved nutrient levels and monitor effluents in coastal waters to inform coastal and marine protected area management.

Photo by Agustin Capriati

July 2023

Week 27

Researchers of WUR study the development of the man-made Marconi salt marsh at Delfzijl, which was constructed by raising the sea floor with sand, mixing clay through the sand sowing glasswort seeds.

Photo by Martin Baptist

Week 28

Scientists from WUR study the benthic community structures in marine lakes, Raja Ampat, Indonesia, in relation to their different ambient conditions.

Photo by Ludi Parwadani Aji

Week 29

To ensure safe and sound professional scientific diving, WUR has developed a course for scientists and students offering scientific diving training and education according to European standards.

Photo by Robin Bull

Week 30

In marine mesocosms, experimental research under field-relevant conditions aims to test the potential of activated carbon to disable toxicants such as PCBs and dioxins in heavily contaminated sediments of water bodies.

Photo by Edwin Foekema

Week 31

Researchers of the WUR investigate causes of mass mortalities in molluscs, for example the involvement of trematodes in mortalities of cockles.

Photo by Marc Engelsma

August 2023

Week 32

Scientists from WUR are developing a Smart Fish Sensing Box that can remotely and autonomously monitor fish biodiversity inshore and offshore, based on video analysis, fish sounds and eDNA sensors.

Photo by Reindert Nijland

Week 33

To enable crab-pot fisheries as a form of multi-use activities in offshore wind farms, an experiment is run in Borssele Wind FarmSite II on risks, ecology and profitability. Prinses Amalia Wind Farm will follow.

Photo by Marcel Rozemeijer

Week 34

Coastal protection in Indonesia combined with green mussel aquaculture may facilitate biodiversity increase. WUR researchers monitor the biodiversity change through eDNA analysis in water samples.

Photo by Bagus

Week 35

WUR researchers investigate the resilience of tropical mangroves, their interactions and changes triggered by climate change and climate-driven anthropogenic pressures in a green house in Wageningen.

Photo by Sara Pino Cobacho

September 2023

Week 36

Scientists from WUR engage in knowledge exchange in the first North-South platform about marine spatial planning in the tropical Atlantic.

Photo by Sébastien Hervé

Week 37

Inspired on the Sandcastle worm, bioconcrete and biosourced alternatives for cement and concrete are developed that bind shells or coral rubble together, thus creating a hard substrate to kickstart reef rehabilitation.

Photo by inaturalist.org

Week 38

Within the REEFolution coral reef project ecologically-inspired approaches support climate resilient reef restoration. Locally trained Reef Rangers culture and outplant corals on artificial substrates.

Photo by Ewout Knoester

Week 39

Dredging companies use scour protection substrates to stabilize pylons in offshore wind farms. To enable nature enhancement, researchers are studying settlement of flat oysters on different types of stone such as marble.

Photo by Pauline Kamermans

October 2023

Week 40

The project Resilience of the Richest Reefs (INREEF) addresses the rapid global loss of coral reefs due to global climate change and local stressors from tourism development impacts.

Photo by Machiel Lamers

Week 41

Historically, sturgeons were captured en-masse, like this one in Dordrecht, in 1917. Today, we study the feasibility of reintroducing the species in the river Rhine.

Historical photograph, author unknown

Week 42

Seaweed can be an important source of food, feed and biomass if produced safely. The project Safe Seaweed by Design identifies hazards and develops scientifically sound guidance supporting the seaweed sector in dealing with risks.

Photo from shutterstock.com

Week 43

WUR researchers study circular uses of Sargassum seaweed and organic waste, to create value-chains that contribute to sustainable energy, food security and coastal habitat restoration on Bonaire.

Photo by Matthijs van der Geest

Week 44

WUR researchers investigate the impact of global defaunation of marine megafauna and invasion of exotic plants and their cascading effects on coastal ecosystem services.

Photo by Marjolijn Christianen

November 2023

Week 45

During the SEES expedition to Svalbard, researchers collect walrus poo. This is studied to learn more about their food sources and what is changing in the environment. Walruses sample the sea!

Photo by Susanne Kühn

Week 46

With a suite of minimally invasive sensors, the energy use of individual animals can be monitored over time. This allows researchers to study the adaptation of marine animals to stressful conditions.

Photo by Edwin Foekema

Week 47

WUR scientists study the great diversity of cryptic organisms that sponges facilitate by providing hiding places or food. Molecular methods reveal that this cryptic fauna include larvae of fish and decapods and, barely visible on this photo, brittle stars.

Photo by Reindert Nijland

Week 48

In the SUPERSEAS project, researchers of WUR investigate how retailer support to area-based governance can lead to sustainable approaches for environmental management and smallholder inclusion in aquaculture in South-East Asia.

Photo from shutterstock.com

December 2023

Week 49

Researchers monitor the decomposition process and rate of a carcass of a minke whale that stranded at Rottumerplaat.

Photo by Martin Baptist

Week 50

Flat oysters selected for tolerance to the Bonamia oyster parasite and a control group are exposed to Lake Grevelingen water. High survival and marker genes confirm tolerance while the Bonamia naive group died.

Photo by Pauline Kamermans

Week 51

Scientists from WUR study the reproductive and spatial ecology of Red-billed Tropicbirds in the Caribbean with ecological and molecular methods.

Photo by Hannah Madden

Week 52

Data Storage Tags are used to identify daily movements and seasonal migration patterns of spotted rays (raja montagui) and blonde rays (raja brachyura) in the North Sea.

Photo by Edward Schram