Aim and focus
The Dutch Nature Conservation foundation Natuurmonumenten proposed the MarkerWadden project to create dynamic wetland islands by using local sediment. In this SMART ecosystem concept, an autonomous development is foreseen in which benthic and wetland biodiversity interacts with physical and biogeochemical processes during the consolidation of sludge. With gradients in topography and properties of sediments an attractive highly diverse dynamic ecosystem is expected. However, it is not well understood how biological, chemical, and physical processes interplay in the consolidation process and which ecosystems will emerge. Regime shifts are expected due to a myriad of feedback mechanisms between suspended sediments, biological and chemical processes, water movement and vegetation. How these shifts and the role of extremes can perturb the system is urgently important. We focus on regime shifts in these newly formed  ecosystems within the context of alteration of fluffy sediment into clay soil. We combine analyses of reference sites abroad, field work, mesocosm experiments, laboratory experiments and modelling studies. The acquired knowledge will not only serve long-term outlooks for the MarkerWadden but also provide a scientific foundation for using soft sediments to create new land elsewhere.

 

Contact details:

Dr. Mariëlle van Riel
UvA, IBED and Alterra Wageningen UR, 
Department of Freshwater Ecology
Droevendaalsesteeg 3
6708 PB Wageningen 
Phone number:  +31 (0)317-486445

Marielle.vanriel@wur.nl

Postal address
P.O. box 47
6700 AA Wageningen
The Netherlands