Schedule: 2015-2016

Linking hydrological regimes to nutrient- and vegetation dynamics in a mudflat system

What is the ultimate effect of hydrological regimes on plant development for Marker Wadden and how do wetland ecological processes interfere to improve soil formation and vegetation dynamics over time? 

Markermeer has a non-natural water level fluctuation with a high water level in summer and autumn and a low water level in winter and spring (see Figure below). I expect that this will influence biogeochemical processes ultimately influencing ecosystem development. 

At the moment, it is uncertain if this hydrological regime will change in the near future. Proposals to open the Houtribdike, restore the water level fluctuation and creating a dam around the islands to manipulate water level will all have drastic consequences for the hydrological regime. We can fairly say that it is unclear what the water level regime will be in ten years from now. Therefore, it is useful to conduct an experiment with both a summer- and winter flooding regime.

Furthermore, we test with two different building types: The top layer of the lake’s bed (soft mud) and the underlying Southern Sea Deposit (stiff clay mixed with Holocene sand).