TITLE OF RESEARCH: Structural and functional biodiversity of copepod (Crustacea) communities on the Belgian Continental Shelf (North Sea)
start on 01/09/1998_____end on 31/03/2003
Research done at:
Universiteit Gent (RUG)
= Universitť de Gand (RUG)
= Ghent University (RUG)
= Universitšt Gent (RUG)
Department of Biology
Krijgslaan 281, S8
Phone: +32-(0)9-264.52.10 ---------- Fax: +32-(0)9-264.53.44
Official language: Dutch
more information on this research:
Harpacticoid copepods are studied in order to define the different harpacticoid communities on the Belgian Continental Shelf and to investigate which factors influence the structural and functional biodiversity of those communities.
Defining structural biodiversity comprises the study of the spatial variation on and between selected sandbanks in relation to sediment characteristics. As the intensity of sand extraction on the Kwintebank is very high, the possible impact of this human-induced disturbance is also investigated.
An aspect of the study of functional biodiversity is to determine the impact of the Phaeocystis pouchetii bloom in spring on harpacticoid communities. Therefore, the benthic community is followed before, during and after the input of phytodetritus in three stations, differing in the intensity of organic enrichment.
The relation between abiotic variables (sediment composition, nutrients, pigments, organic C) and harpacticoid communities willbe studied in an annual monitoring campaign in autumn.
All these data will make it possible to identify ecological indicator species or communities. The results will be incorporated into a GIS, which surveys user functions, physical and biological variables of the southern North Sea, as a policy instrument to indicate vulnerable and valuable areas and to support the sustainable management of the North Sea.
Publications related to this research:
Vanaverbeke J., M. Steyaert, W. Bonne & M. Vincx, 2001. Three decades of meiobenthos research on the Belgian Continental Shelf: an overview, p.11-16. In: Cattrijsse A. & Vincx M. (Eds.) Biodiversity of the Benthos and the Avifauna of the BelgianCoastal Waters: Summary of data collected between 1970 and 1998, The Prime Minister's Services Federal Office for Scientific, Technical and Cultural affairs, 48 p.