A project within the BMBF frame work program “Research for a Sustainable Development” (FONA)
Taking measures to protect benthic ecosystems of the North Sea from the consequences of the growing human stress requires an accurate scientific inventory of the status and an understanding the role of the sea floor. Within the framework of the NOAH project the development of a “habitat map” for the German Bight will provide researchers with the basis for a comprehensive description and evaluation of present and future conditions, strains, and performances of the North Sea habitat.
NOAH aims at a comprehensive (geo-referenced) inventory of the sea floor characteristics in the German Bight (North Sea) by:
- Compile, integrate and map existing data with relevance to the distinction of benthic habitats based on sedimentological, geochemical, and biological characteristics and anthropogenic stress.
- Investigate temporal and spatial variability of physically, sedimentologically, and biologically driven characteristics of the sea floor using high-resolution modelling results. Collect new data focused on representative sedimentary provinces.
- Use numerical models and (geo-)statistical methods for inter- and extrapolation of the role of benthic ecosystems in oceanic processes such as nutrient cycling, bentho-pelagic coupling, uptake of contaminants, sediment resuspension and sustaining biodiversity. .
- Analysis of the „habitat map“ by a probability expert system with the aim to identify suitable operational indicators for an integrative benchmark of good environmental conditions (as per the MSRL) and assess the risks and limitations for the sustainability of important benefits from ecosystems on the sea floor under different climatic and management scenarios
A first version of the “habitat map” German Bight will be shortly available via WebGis.
The NOAH project is one of five collaborative FuE-projects of the „Agenda for coastal research in the North and Baltic Sea (KüNO)" of the BMBF frame work program Research for a Sustainable Development (FONA). The project has a total duration of 3 years (since April 2013). The work of 8 partners in the NOAH consortium is being coordinated at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht.
Prof. Dr. Kay Emeis