The aim of this study is to model the species distribution and inter-connectivity of reef communities on offshore structures in the North Sea, using different techniques: First, it provides community data from taxonomic species inventories. Second, a cost efficient method for inventory of communities is developed using state-of-the-art DNA metabarcoding. Third, the genetic population structures of the mussel Mytilus edulis and crustacean Jassa herdmani, abundant invertebrates with different dispersal strategies, are analysed. Ultimately, the data from this study and other available data are used to model the distribution of species on offshore structures and their inter-connectedness.
The methodology is proposed to address 3 main questions:
1) What is the species composition of marine growth on offshore structures?
2) To what extent is this composition explained by abiotic factors (e.g. depth, temperature, location, platforms age, marine growth cleaning frequency) and biotic factors (e.g. food availability, proximity to marine growth on other offshore structures, distance to coastal populations)?
3) To what extent are the communities on the structures isolated from or connected to each other and how is this explained by the factors noted earlier?
In addition to analysing existing footage collected with remotely operated vehicles, we carry out fieldwork in a highly cost efficient manner, using fully equipped mobilized diving-vessels already present at offshore installations for regular inspection and maintenance work. GDF-SUEZ provides in kind co-funding by allowing our certified offshore diver-marine biologists to access their dive support vessels. This approach was implemented frequently by IMARES in 2014 and is a highly successful, unique and cost-efficient method for field inventories of reef communities on offshore installations. Part of the work is financed with cooperation and co-funding from several companies. The work will be carried out by junior and senior researchers under professorial supervision.
Benthic biodiversity on old platforms, young wind farms, and rocky reefs
ICES Journal of Marine Science 2018 (2018). - ISSN 1054-3139 - 16 p.
Data challenges and opportunities for environmental management of North Sea oil and gas decommissioning in an era of blue growth
Marine Policy 97 (2018). - ISSN 0308-597X - p. 130 - 138.
Distribution of the invasive Caprella mutica Schurin, 1935 and native Caprella linearis (Linnaeus, 1767) on artificial hard substrates in the North Sea : Separation by habitat
Aquatic Invasions 11 (2016)4. - ISSN 1798-6540 - p. 437 - 449.
Environmental benefits of leaving offshore infrastructure in the ocean
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (2018). - ISSN 1540-9295 - 8 p.
First record of Harmothoe aspera (Hansen, 1879) (Polychaeta: Polynoidae) in the Dutch North Sea
Marine Biodiversity Records 10 (2017)1. - ISSN 1755-2672 - 4 p.
First record of Syllis vittata (Polychaeta: Syllidae) in the Dutch North Sea
Marine Biodiversity Records 10 (2017). - ISSN 1755-2672 - 4 p.
Nieuwe mosdiertjes van noordzeewrakken (Bryozoa)
Nederlandse Faunistische Mededelingen 46 (2016). - ISSN 0169-2453 - p. 43 - 48.
Records of five bryozoan species from offshore gas platforms rare for the Dutch North Sea
Marine Biodiversity Records 9 (2016). - ISSN 1755-2672 - 9 p.
Understanding the influence of man-made structures on the ecosystem functions of the North Sea (UNDINE)
Wageningen : Wageningen Marine Research - p.
Where are the polyps? Molecular identification, distribution and population differentiation of Aurelia aurita jellyfish polyps in the southern North Sea area
Marine Biology 163 (2016). - ISSN 0025-3162