Our projects

Measuring marine plastics in the Belgian part of the North Sea

Measuring marine plastics in the Belgian part of the North Sea The ‘Marine Plastics’ project aims to draw up an approach to monitoring of marine microplastics. In compliance with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, microplastics have to be monitored in the water column and sediments of the Belgian part of the North Sea. Different approaches…

UNITED

UNITED Multi-Use offshore platforms demoNstrators for boostIng cost-effecTive and Eco-friendly proDuction in sustainable marine activities The UNITED project will provide evidence for the viability of ocean multi-use through the development of five demonstration pilots in the real European marine environment. The Belgian pilot is centered around the combination of offshore wind energy, seaweed (Saccharina latissima)…

FaCE-IT

FaCE-IT Functional biodiversity in a Changing sedimentary Environment: Implications for biogeochemistry and food webs in a managerial setting Coastal ecosystems are facing many pressures affecting ecosystem health. Major human activities include the installation of offshore wind farms (introduction of man-made hard substrates in sandy environments), beam trawling, aggregate extraction, dredging and dumping, all resulting in…

APELAFICO

APELAFICO Apelafico collects data on density and diversity of pelagic fish in and around offshore wind farms in association with acoustic conditions during the construction and operation of wind farms. The project also zooms in on fish behaviour in the direct vicinity of pile driving activities (i.e. danger zone) and, tests and improves an acoustic…

Assessing the conservation status of the “Vlakte van de Raan” marine protected area

Assessing the conservation status of the “Vlakte van de Raan” marine protected area The “Vlakte van de Raan” Special Area for Conservation has recently been spatially extended in the framework of a revision of the Belgian marine spatial plan (2020-2026). To ascertain a proper management of the MPA, an updated scientific assessment of the habitats…

On the compatibility of offshore wind farms and marine protected areas

On the compatibility of offshore wind farms and marine protected areas The race for space in the marine environment urges the consideration of co-locating human activities at sea. The recently proliferating offshore wind farms pose threats to and at the same time, offer possibilities for marine conservation and restoration. MARECO investigates options for mitigating undesired…

OUTFLOW

OUTFLOW Quantifying the cOntribUTion of Fouling fauna to the Local carbon budget of an Offshore Wind farm OUTFLOW investigates how the presence of large densities of fouling fauna on wind turbines in offshore wind farms affect the spatial distribution of organic matter at the local and regional scale. These organisms filter large quantities of organic…

MINING IMPACT II

MINING IMPACT II In the last decade, there has been growing global attention toward the deep-sea mining industry. This is due to the increasing demand for metals and rare earth elements, of which large quantities and high concentrations can be found in certain marine deposits, such as poly-metallic nodules, within abyssal provinces. OD Nature is…

Belgian national gravel bed monitoring

Belgian national gravel bed monitoring In the framework of the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive, MARECO is responsible for the design and implementation of the national monitoring program on seafloor integrity and biodiversity in natural gravel bed biotopes, classified as a geogenic reef under the EU Habitats Directive. This multidisciplinary monitoring program exploits underwater remote sensing…

Designing measures to reduce the impact of fisheries on seabed integrity

Designing measures to reduce the impact of fisheries on seabed integrity In the framework of the Habitat Directive, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, biodiversity and habitat conservation and restoration must be pursued also in Belgian waters. Accordingly, the Marine Spatial Planning 2020-2026 included an area of maximally 285 km²…