To guarantee safety foreshores are often strengthened using hard substrates, for instance in the Westerschelde and Oosterschelde. These hard substrates affect the ecological value of these otherwise soft-sediment habitats. Monitoring is needed to assess the impact and following recovery of the benthic life, as these areas are part of Natura 2000. Until now, ecological monitoring mainly involved standard techniques: divers assessing epifaunal communities visually and taking sediment cores for infauna determination at a few selected sites in the impacted area. One of the disadvantages of this method is that only very locally and patchy information is collected about the ecological value, without any information at larger scale. There is a need for monitoring techniques that cover wider spatial areas, in order to better assess the spatial variability allowing detailed examination of the seabed at a large scale. In this project we will test a hierarchical approach using a combination of acoustic remote sensing data with video imaging data and standard seabed sampling techniques. As such a more comprehensive insight at large spatial scale of the ecological value of engineered foreshores will be established. The methodology can also be applied to other types of marine and estuarine habitats.
|Effective start/end date||1/01/18 → 31/12/18|