Required Biological and Environmental Conditions

The objective of artificial seagrass is the development of suitable conditions for the restoration and growth of natural seagrass. This work package aims to determine the hydrodynamic and ecological characteristics that favour and support the growth of Zostera marina as well as their natural variation.

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Dimensions for Artificial Seagrass

Observation of the environmental conditions on Work Package 3 provides a starting point towards the development of the Artificial Seagrass. Existing seagrass meadows in the area of interest are important sources of information regarding the environmental conditions needed for the seagrasses to grow and survive.

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ASG Performance

In the first year, hydrodynamic as well as morphodynamic measurements will be conducted using a commercially available artificial seagrass which will be installed in the Large Wave Flume. At the end of the project phase all data from the project partners will be compiled to produce an artificial seagrass prototype.

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WP3: Required Biological and Environmental Conditions

The objective of artificial seagrass is the development of suitable conditions for the restoration and growth of natural seagrass. Therefore, we will investigate the current circumstances at selected field sites. This work package aims to determine the hydrodynamic and ecological characteristics that favour and support the growth of Zostera marina as well as their natural variation.

Suitability of a site for seagrass growth depends on hydrodynamic (water depth, tidal variation, wave forcing), abiotic (nutrient budget, light availability, salinity), biotic (interactions with co-occurring species) and geomorphic (sediment composition, slope) conditions. A systematic literature review will provide first information of the range and knowledge gaps regarding these conditions followed by the investigation of transects through seagrass meadows at various stages of the annual cycle.

Zostera marina
Zostera marina. Picture: TU Braunschweig

These field measurements will provide the basis for developing a predictive model of spatial distribution patterns of seagrass in the Baltic Sea of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Laboratory studies under controlled conditions enable us to evaluate threshold conditions for maximum wave energy and minimum light levels for seagrass growth. A mesocosm experiment with natural seagrass conducted at the lab facility of the Dutch partner will investigate further stressors. The shoot morphology of Zostera marina will be examined concerning its form and oscillation.

Thus, a near-natural appearance and behaviour of artificial seagrass will secure the high value of nature protection and tourism in the relevant shallow water areas.

Contact

Institut für Geoökologie
Technische Universität Braunschweig

Jana Carus, j.carus@tu-braunschweig.de, Phone: +49 531 391-5929

Project partners

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