Report of the symposium Wadden Sea Research

On December 10 and 11, 2014, the Waddenacademie, in cooperation with the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO; the Dutch research council), organised a symposium focussing on Wadden Sea research.The symposium took place in Leeuwarden and brought together more than 160 scientists, policymakers, managers and other stakeholders from the trilateral Wadden Sea region.

10 December 2014

The first day of the symposium started with an official welcome by Jouke van Dijk, chairman of the Waddenacademie, after which he gave the microphone to Katja Philippart, board member Ecology of the Waddenacademie and moderator of the first day.

The first day was subdivided into two themes: the morning concentrated on the Wadden barometer, and in the afternoon the focus was on science – policy interactions.

Key-note speaker in the morning was Wouter van Dieren, a.o. director IMSA Amsterdam, member Club of Rome and member of the World Academy of Art and Science. Van Dieren stressed the importance of working together as scientists. John Dagevos (Telos, University of Tilburg) presented the first concept of the Wadden barometer, which has the aim to monitor the ecological, economic and social-cultural sustainability in the Wadden area.

After his presentation, the scientific pros and cons of the Wadden barometer and the policy relevance were discussed with a panel (consisting of Han Lindeboom, Meindert Schroor, Frans Sijtsma and Herman Verheij) and the audience.

In the afternoon, the focus was on science-policy interactions in the Wadden Area. 

The theme was introduced by Matthias Ruth (Northeastern University Boston) and Beate Ratter (Universität Hamburg and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht HZG). After their presentations, Hens Runhaar (University of Utrecht)  introduced the National Sea and Coastal Research Programme (Dutch: ZKO), which was set up to strengthen the cohesion and collaboration within Dutch marine research programme.

After the coffee break, the floor was given to Franke van der Molen (University of Groningen) and Judith Floor (Wageningen University), two of the six PhD students who are working at the moment on science-policy interactions in the Wadden region. Van der Molen and Floor led a passionate discussion with the audience about the daily reality of science-policy interactions in the Wadden region.

11 December 2014

The second day concentrated on a bilateral Wadden Sea call, starting in 2011, in which four trans-national projects focusing on the bio- and georisks of the Wadden Sea were funded by NWO and the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The scientists shared their first results. Franciscus Colijn was the moderator of this day.

Fransiscus Colijn (left) moderator of the second day
Speech of Anna Occhipinti about non-indegenous marine species
Speech of Anna Occhipinti about non-indegenous marine species

The morning was devoted to the biorisks of the Waddenarea, with a key-note note lecture by Anna Occhipinti (Università degli Studi di Pavia). After her presentation, more specific talks were given about the impact of biological invasions on the food web (introduction of the topic by Harald Asmus and detailed presentations by Sarina JungUlricke Schückel and Camille de la Vega) and about the effects of invasive species on native predator-prey and pathogen-host webs (introduction of the topic by David Thieltges and detailed presentations by Anouk GoedknegtChristian Buschbaum and Mathias Wegner).

After the lunch, Mark Stacey (University of California, Berkeley) held a key-note lecture on Climate Change, Sea Level Rise and San Francisco Bay, with which he introduced the theme of the afternoon, the georisks of the Wadden Sea. Specific talks were given on the future of the Wadden Sea sediment fluxes (introduction of the topic by Hans Burchard and detailed presentations by Ulf Gräwe and Matias Duran Matute) and on the impact of climate change and human intervention on hydrodynamics and environmental conditions in the Ems-Dollard estuary (introduction of the topic by Huib de Swart, and presentations of Erik Ensing and Johannes Pein).

After the presentations, there was a general discussion with the audience about the possibilities for a next bilateral (or preferable trilateral) call. Dick van der Kroef (on behalf of NOW), Dirk Schories (on behalf of BMBF) and Jesper Bartholdy (on behalf of the Scientific Board of the Danish Wadden Sea National Park) stressed the success and the importance of the current bilateral call. They stimulated the audience to come up with new, scientific interesting and social relevant, ideas for a future research call.

At the end of the symposium, Katja Philippart made a quick synthesis of the two days. She concluded that the symposium showed that there is a momentum to make serious steps in coming to real trilateral, integrated Wadden research, which is necessary to maintain the outstanding value of this UNESCO recognized area.

View all presentations and the photo-impression of both days.

Photography: Zwanette Jager, ZiltWater Advies