Ecopotential researchers meet on the shores of the Wadden Sea

Published: 27 June 2016

Ecopotential is a Horizon 2020 European research programme for internationally acknowledged conservation areas that include the Wadden Sea in the Netherlands, and other areas in Europe such as the Camargue (France), the Sierra Nevada (Spain) and the Gran Paradiso National Park (Italy). The first Ecopotential General Assembly will take place from 27 to 30 June on the island of Texel, which will be transformed into a meeting point for scientists from all over Europe and beyond.

The participants will discuss the most advanced technologies and methodologies for monitoring and modelling ecosystems. During their time on Texel, they will also look at the results and the activities to be implemented in the future as part of the project. The programme will include a visit to the Wadden Sea conservation area.

The project supplies Earth Observation data that can be used to monitor, understand and model changes to ecosystems and to support the effective management of these protected areas. Researchers also model data to produce predictions. This blend of research output is used to address long-term and large-scale environmental and ecological challenges.

Research in the coastal lagoon of the Wadden Sea

The research in the coastal lagoon of the Wadden Sea is being coordinated by Deltares and NIOZ. Several modelling applications have been produced to date relating to water quality and the impact of algal growth and the mussel communities in the area. Different types of satellite information have been included in the research in order to support modelling efforts, to map the wide range of habitats in the Wadden Sea, and to explore the functioning of this unique ecosystem. The goals of this endeavour include, but are not limited to, ensuring that space and resources are adequate for the many migratory and local bird populations which make use of the Wadden Sea. The research is also intended to safeguard and monitor the young fish populations that mature and find their way to the North Sea, where they play an important role for fishermen and consumers. The progress of this research is being shared and coordinated with the managers of protected areas and Dutch policy-makers.

Acquired knowledge will be available on shared and open platforms

All the data, model results and acquired knowledge will be available on shared and open platforms that contribute  to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), an international open repository of Earth Observation data freely available to all scientists worldwide. The project partners will also develop and deliver products and services for the managers of the protected areas with the aim of informing decision-making processes. Other stakeholders will also have access to information.