In search of non-indigenous species (NIS) on man-made hard substrata in the marine environment (Belgian Part of the North Sea)

Internship position (12 ECTS)
Oceans and Lakes
Non-indigenous species (NIS), i.e. species that are found outside their natural distribution range, pose major ecological risks, hence NIS introduced by human activities are of relevance to various EU regulations (biodiversity, invasive species strategy, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive). This project aims to evaluate to what extent NIS can take advantage of the increased availability of artificial hard substrata, such as groynes, harbour works and wind farms. To this end, the composition as well as available habitat and dispersal capacity of the fouling communities that settle on various hard substrata in the marine environment will be investigated. Samples will be analysed from various hard substrates at several locations along the Belgian coast (offshore wind farm, groynes,..). The exact content of the internship will be dependent on the interests of the student, and can vary between mainly taxonomic analysis or image analysis, or a combination of both. There are opportunities to do practical work in the field and to take additional samples. The student can get in contact with sampling techniques during field work in Belgian waters and analysis of biological datasets as well as with the variety of macroscopic life on artificial hard substrates.
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Other people involved: 
Prof. Dr. Steven Degraer (Promotor) Dr. Ilse De Mesel (Co-promotor) Francis Kerckhof (Supervisor)
Reference Number: RP-48871