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Eco-morphology of estuaries and tidal lagoons

Identifier financieringsorganisatie: STW - DCB 6334 (Other contract id)
Acroniem: ECOMORPH
Periode: September 2004 tot December 2008
Status: Afgelopen

Thesaurustermen: Estuaria; Lagunes
 Instituut | Datasets 

Instituut  Top | Datasets 


The project "Ecomorphology of estuaries and tidal lagoons" is a co-operative between WL|Delft Hydraulics, the faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences of the Technical University Delft (TUD-CiTG) and the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Centre for Estuarine and Marine Ecology (NIOO-CEME). The project is funded by the Stichting Technische Wetenschappen (STW; Technical Sciences Foundation) and has an end-user group which comprises various coastal- and water-related (governmental and non-governmental) institutes.·

Project description


The research done within the ECOMORPH project will contribute to a better understanding of sedimentary processes in coastal and estuarine intertidal areas and the quantification of the influence of different benthic groups on these processes.

  • Sediment composition and erosion/deposition history determine sedimentary properties such as the critical shear stress.

  • Different groups of benthic organisms exert different and mostly unique influences on said sedimentary properties, thereby influencing the overall ‘behaviour’ of the sediment. This can lead to a spatial distribution of different ‘sediment behaviours’.

  • The importance of the benthic communities in the functioning of the total ecosystem. Several field sites will be used in experiments, so as to obtain a good and varied picture of the estuary. In principle, only the euhaline part of the estuary will be used to conduct experiments. That is, from Hansweert westwards to Vlissingen.


  • Exclusion experiments, where the densities of benthic macrofauna are manipulated, will be used to test for the effects in different communities and under different circumstances.

  • Experiments where the sediment composition is manipulated, both in the field and in the lab, will be conducted to assess the capacity of certain benthic organisms to act on said manipulations.

Interaction between the different partners

Strong interactions between the various partners in this project are foreseen. The coupling between studies done on purely physical factors and those which integrate biological and physical forcing will be paramount in this project.

Link with international programmes


  • LOICZ (Land Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone, IGBP, ICSU).

Expected results and/or products

  • Scientific results will be published in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Data of the benthos and sediment will be made public through the website.

  • Coupling between hydrodynamic models and sediment transport mechanisms of the studied areas will be made, in order to enhance predictive power of existing models.

  • Results will be made available to the public, end-users, governmental bodies.

Datasets (2)  Top | Instituut 
  • BioFuse: Barley S., Gribsholt B., Montserrat F., Na Hee T., Rossi F., Weerman E., Jansen J., Herman P. 2006: Biodiversity Functioning and Sediment interactions. Netherlands Institute of Ecology; Centre for Estuarine and Marine Ecology, Netherlands. Metadata available at, meer
  • DefRek: Montserrat F., Herman P. 2005: Defaunation-Recolonisation of a benthic community. Netherlands Institute of Ecology; Centre for Estuarine and Marine Ecology, Netherlands. Metadata available at, meer

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