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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WP6: Use of Seagrass Biomass

Natural seagrass produces biomass, which, after dying off, is washed to shore. This is a natural process, which on German coasts causes the accumulation of large quantities of seagrass detritus. Detritus along beaches has a high ecological value: it provides food and habitat for birds and insects living on the coast, as well as it protects the dunes behind it. Furthermore, during decomposition nutrients are released, a process that provides important fertiliser to adjacent ecosystems. Since both, temperature and humidity have an impact on the decomposition of organic materials, climate change could affect detritus deposition: on the one hand by changes in air and water temperature and on the other hand by sea level rise and associated increase in inundation times and frequencies.

Picture: TU Braunschweig

Seagrass detritus has always been used commercially. Nowadays the production of fertilizers and insulation materials are the most common forms of use. Furthermore, our industrial partner Soiltec has developed a fire-proof mat for revegetation and erosion control in sensitive areas. Due to the installation of groins, however, the quantity of detritus has greatly increased. Since the negative effects, for example on tourism, have also increased, a large proportion of the detritus is disposed of costly in many places.

In this Workpackage, we will investigate the extent to which the degradability of Zostera marina detritus is altered by increased temperature and prolonged flooding time, as well as the effect this has on the detritus habitats. For this purpose, experiments will be conducted, in which the decomposition rates are examined under modified conditions. The information on the decomposition times of seagrass detritus will also be used to explore whether seagrass fibres can be used as filler in biodegradable compound materials with the vision to re-integrate detritus in the material used to produce ASG and/or their base layers.


Institut für Geoökologie
Technische Universität Braunschweig

Jana Carus,, Phone: +49 531 391-5929

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