Waves and wetlands

Date: 9 December 2015

Venue: UAntwerpen, Campus Drie Eiken, lokaal B.005 - Universiteitsplein 1 - 2650 Edegem

Time: 10:45 AM - 11:30 AM

Organization / co-organization: Global Change Ecology Centre

Short description: Research seminar by prof. Iris Moeller (University of Cambridge): lessons learnt from 20 years of empirical research on European coastal wetlands

The existence of terrestrial vegetation communities in highly saline and hydraulically dynamic environments has been the focus of much ecological and geomorphological research over the past 20 years. Over this time, debates around the impact of sea level rise and climate change have brought into focus the importance of understanding the linkages between the biological and physical factors that control how coastal wetlands ‘work’ and that determine what happens to them in the future.

This talk reviews a series of empirical studies on the linkage between hydrodynamics, vegetation, and landform characteristics of coastal wetlands in NW Europe. It has become clear that such coastal wetlands act as important wave energy buffers even during extreme storm surge conditions, but that physical explanations for this ‘ecosystem service’ are complex, location and context specific. Interesting questions about scales of quantification of hydrodynamic ‘roughness’ of bio-geomorphological surfaces as well as the resilience of such landforms arise from this and point to possible future research avenues.

An initiative of Ecosystem Management Research Group, Department of Biology Prof Patrick Meire, Prof Ruurd Van Diggelen, Prof Stijn Temmerman.

Contact email: eric.struyf@uantwerpen.be