Bregje van Wesenbeeck

Nature-based flood risk mitigation and ecosystem assessment

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Dr. B.K. van Wesenbeeck is an expert on ecosystem assessment and ecological data analysis with a focus on coastal and wetland ecosystems. She executed her thesis on salt-marsh behavior in both the Netherlands and the US (RI), looking at the interaction between ecology, hydrodynamics and morphology. She has extensive field experience in intertidal systems and is skilled in solid experimental design and statistical testing. She values multidisciplinary research, and therefore often participates in projects that include ecology, hydrodynamics, water quality and morphology, which gives her an broad multidisciplinary background.

The last 5 years she has been working in projects where ecosystem services are used to obtain goals in water management, for instance using salt marshes and oyster reefs for coastal protection. Currently, she functions as a team leader and expert in several large projects on this topic and she coordinates Deltares marketing and research activities for ‘Building with Nature’ or ‘eco-engineering’. She is also responsible for implementing these innovative approaches for water management into the daily work of the Dutch government. In these roles she is continuously working on developing these concepts further, preferably together with multiple international parties. She initiated renewed collaboration with NGO’s on topics such nature-based coastal defense and coastal rehabilitation.

Last year she started the new research line to use the large-scale flume facilities of Deltares for validation of wave-dampening properties of biological structures, such as wetlands. This research bridges between ecologists and engineers and is executed in close collaboration between both. Dr. van Wesenbeeck presented her work on many international conferences and workshops and has a still growing publication list in peer-reviewed journals.

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Working experience

2012 - Present Deltares Senior researcher/advisor at Deltares.
2008 - 2011 Deltares Researcher/advisor at Deltares.
2006 - 2007 NIOO Coordination of project on creation of Japanese Oyster reefs as a mechanism for coastal defense at the NIOO.
2002 - 2007 Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and Brown University PhD research at the Netherlands Institute for Ecology (NIOO), Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG) and Brown University. Main topic: Structuring role of interactions between species and the environment in salt marsh pioneer zones. Promotores: Dr. J.P. Bakker, Dr. P.M.J. Herman and Dr. M.D. Bertness.
2001 - 2002 Province of Noord-Holland Water & Green department of the Province of Noord-Holland. The project implied an extra impulse for policies on nature and water in a part of the urban agglomeration area of the Netherlands.