Benthic biodiversity patterns in the Dutch Wadden Sea

Activity: Talk and presentationAcademic presentationAcademic


The Wadden Sea is the largest intertidal mudflat system of the world and is most well-known for its larger species such as birds, seals and fish. However, these species largely depend on the invertebrates, like worms and bivalves, that are living in and on the sediment: the benthic species. Despite their importance, relatively little is known about the distribution of these benthic species, especially in the subtidal parts of the Wadden Sea which are permanently submerged. In this study we use subtidal data from a large-scale sampling campaign within the Waddenmozaïek research program (n = 1325), combined with intertidal data from the NIOZ SIBES sampling campaign (n = 4212). Both sampling campaigns are laid out on a grid with regular intervals (1000m for subtidal and 500m for intertidal areas), with additional random samples to improve estimates of spatial autocorrelation. The extent of this dataset allows us to map how species richness is distributed throughout the Dutch Wadden Sea in unprecedented resolution. In addition, detailed abiotic data of the Dutch Wadden Sea allows us to link the observed biodiversity patterns to environmental conditions such as depth, sediment characteristics and flow velocity. We hope that visualizing the benthic richness of this unique ecosystem can help management decisions and conservation efforts.
Event titleNetherlands Annual Ecology Meeting 2022
Event typeConference
Conference number15
Organiser Netherlands Ecological Research Network (NERN)
LocationLunteren, NetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational