First fieldwork season for research vessel Dreissena
Researchers from the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED-UvA) have started their first fieldwork season with brand new research ship the RV Dreissena this spring. The vessel was launched last summer as the result of a crowdfunding and sponsoring effort.
With the new well-equipped vessel, researchers are able to carry out measurements and collect samples from lake Markermeer and the IJsselmeer area all year round. After a period of successful test rounds to tweak the on-board equipment, data collection with the ship has now officially started.
The ecology of Lake Markermeer has changed considerably due to the building of dikes and dams, but not a lot is known about the steering factors that determine the changing ecological state of this large shallow delta lake. The aim of the research is to develop knowledge on the limiting factors for ecological development.
The ship is taken out to lake Markermeer weekly to conduct high resolution measurements along different spatial gradients by taking measurements and samples along the transition from clear to turbid water, from open water to the shore. Particular attention is given to food web structure by analysing nutrient dynamics, productivity, the role of benthic fauna, zooplankton, phytoplankton and macrophyte beds, but also including studies on land-water interactions and migration barriers for fish.
RV Dreissena is also employed in the area of the Koopmanspolder near Andijk, bordering Lake IJsselmeer. This back shore (‘achteroever’) experimental area was designed to provide extra water storage and creates an artificial land-water transition. Measurements in this experimental area will add to the understanding of the impact of such man-made shore systems on the ecology of the lake and give insights in whether it may support improving the quality of the IJsselmeer ecosystem.
For more information on the work done on Lake Markermeer and IJsselmeer, keep an eye on the research blog 'Ecologie Markermeer' (in Dutch) or follow the researchers on Twitter.
The construction of the RV Dreissena is the result of a crowdfunding’s effort initiated by aquatic biologist Harm van der Geest (IBED-UvA). Until now, research was done with small dinghy’s that were not suitable to safely use in all weather conditions.