Marien en offshore
Monitoring and surveys

Marine benthos and plankton

The thin tellin, bioluminescence, sea foam and the coral dead man's finger: they are all part of the rich benthos and plankton community that lives in the North Sea. For most, hidden in the depths, but made visible through our research. There is great biodiversity within our seas and coasts!

Benthic organisms (invertebrate organisms that live on and around the bottom) and plankton play a prominent role in the marine ecosystem. As a primary link in the food chain, they are an important nutritional component for many fish, seabirds and people. Furthermore, phytoplankton play a major role in producing oxygen and absorbing CO2.

Monitoring changes

Due to changes in the North Sea, such as the warming of the waters, sea level rise and the construction of large-scale wind farms, changes may occur within the benthos and plankton communities. This is just part of the reason we are monitoring waters in the Dutch Delta and Wadden Sea. We map species diversity, make trend analyses and identify new, and sometimes non-native, species. The quantity and diversity of the benthos and plankton says a lot about the quality of the water. With this information we can take measures to improve water quality.

A rich biodiversity

Our researchers are also mapping the rich biodiversity in the North Sea. Video monitoring, sonar and samples of bottom material provide us with a lot of information about marine life. This allows us to show how surprisingly beautiful our North Sea is and that we should therefore use it sparingly.