Projects

Oxygen depletion – a joker in the management of the Danish marine environment

Oxygen is the basis of all higher lives – also in the sea. Oxygen depletion in the sea typically occurs in the bottom water in stratified water bodies, which are common in the inner Danish waters. Oxygen depletion impairs the living conditions of animals, plants and fish and stimulates the release of nutrients from the sea bottom. Widespread oxygen depletion occurs in areas, which are heavily loaded with nutrients, and is the ultimate environmental consequence of eutrophication. Oxygen depletion is very dynamic and its dispersal, duration and strength may vary within hours to days dependent on the currents and the weather (precipitation, temperature and especially wind).

The project will improve the modelling of the areawise extent of oxygen depletion and accumulate new knowledge about the dynamics of oxygen depletion, which is of vital importance to improve the management of the marine environment. The project will take place in 2019 and 2020 and is funded by VELUX FONDEN.

Project manager: Jens Würgler Hansen, senior advisor.

SeaDataNet

SeaDataNet is a distributed Marine Data Infrastructure for the management of large and diverse sets of data deriving from in situ of the seas and oceans.

Professional data centres, active in data collection, constitute a Pan-European network providing on-line integrated databases of standardized quality.

The on-line access to in situ data, metadata and products is provided through a unique portal interconnecting the interoperable node platforms constituted by the SeaDataNet data centres.

Department of Bioscience at Aarhus University develops, maintains and hosts the national database on aquatic Data. The database is connected to the EU data portals through the SeaDataNet infrastructure, making data from the Danish national monitoring programme available to users through the EU portals.

https://www.seadatanet.org

Contact: Janus Larsen

ATLAS (EU Horizon 2020 project: A trans-Atlantic assessment and deep-water ecosystem-based spatial management plan for Europe - ATLAS)

The main aim of the Blue Nodules project is to develop and test breakthrough solutions for the sustainable harvesting and processing of deep-sea polymetallic nodules. Technical work packages are dedicated to subsea harvesting equipment and control technology, in-situ seafloor processing of polymetallic nodules and sea surface, land operations and processes. A work package setting requirements and assessing the developed technology controls the entire work plan structure.  A dedicated work package focuses on environmental issues and on an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Important aspects of the EIA include:

  • Identify the range of environmental pressures arising from the mining of polymetallic nodules, from the harvesting and seabed processing, vertical and horizontal transport and onboard processing
  • Quantify the most relevant environmental pressures by means of lab- and field experiments, numerical modelling, and available literature data, and provide feedback to the design of seagoing equipment in order to reduce the environmental disturbance.
  • Evaluate technological and operational solutions for reducing environmental impact in the light of current status of scientific knowledge on environmental impacts and compliance to international regulations and industrial standards.

The project consortium contains 14 leading industry and research partners from 9 EU member states.

Project participants: Christian Mohn (project leader for partner institute), Janus Larsen, Susse Wegeberg, Kim Gustavson

Development of new tools for assessment of environmental impact from fishery (TASSEEF)

The aim of the project is to develop new knowledge about the indirect impact on the marine environment  from fishery with dredgers – especially development of new tools and methods which at the level of entire basins can gain new knowledge about impact from fishery. In this connection, it is an objective to investigate whether fishery might have a positive environmental impact. For this purpose, mussel fishery in the Limfjorden is used.

The main result of the project will be new tools to the management of mussel fishery, first and foremost in the Limfjorden. Concretely, it will be possible to impose safety zones around the eelgrass habitats. Other management effects of the project will be increased focus on the ecosystem services, which the mussel fishery delivers in very nutrient-rich areas. The documentation will become important for the overall management and will extend far beyond this project. Development of the scientific basis for the management of fishery in coastal areas will be of great importance for other types of fishery than mussel fishery. The industry will be able to use the developed tools when planning the fishery and especially when planning the transplantation. Furthermore, the industry can use the results to make the access to the transplantation easier by means of the documentation from the project.

The project is funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) (2016-2019) and is a cooperation with DTU Aqua (Jens Kjerulf Petersen, coordinator) and the Danish Meteorological Institute. Project manager at Aarhus University: Marie Maar.

OptiMus - Optimization of mussel mitigation cultures for fish feed in the Baltic Sea

The purpose of OptiMus is to document the potential of mussel production as a mitigation tool for eutrophication and its effect on the water quality in the coastal areas in the western part of the Baltic Sea.

Aquaculture of mussels is an example of “Blue Growth” with a large potential, which at the same time may impact the environment positively. When mussels are harvested, nitrogen is removed from the system and mussel filtration cleans the water for plankton algae. Models, satellite data and light measurements are used in the project in order to document changes in the Secchi depth in the areas around the mussel farms and to calculate the ecosystem value. The mussel production will be optimized and techniques from the western part will be transferred to the central part of the Baltic Sea. New cost-efficient techniques for processing mussel meal will be developed and the produced meal will be tested for its suitability as a protein supplement in fish feed. Optimal sites for mussel farming will be selected taking other activities, protected areas and socioeconomic interests into account.

The project is supported financially by the EU BONUS programme (2017-2020) and is a cooperation with DTU Aqua (Jens Kjerulf Petersen, coordinator), private companies and other research institutions around the Baltic Sea. Project manager at Aarhus University: Marie Maar.

http://www.bonus-optimus.eu/

Blue Nodules (EU Horizon 2020)

The main aim of the Blue Nodules project is to develop and test breakthrough solutions for the sustainable harvesting and processing of deep-sea polymetallic nodules. Technical work packages are dedicated to subsea harvesting equipment and control technology, in-situ seafloor processing of polymetallic nodules and sea surface, land operations and processes. A work package setting requirements and assessing the developed technology controls the entire work plan structure.  A dedicated work package focuses on environmental issues and on an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Important aspects of the EIA include:

  • Identify the range of environmental pressures arising from the mining of polymetallic nodules, from the harvesting and seabed processing, vertical and horizontal transport and onboard processing
  • Quantify the most relevant environmental pressures by means of lab- and field experiments, numerical modelling, and available literature data, and provide feedback to the design of seagoing equipment in order to reduce the environmental disturbance.
  • Evaluate technological and operational solutions for reducing environmental impact in the light of current status of scientific knowledge on environmental impacts and compliance to international regulations and industrial standards.

The project consortium contains 14 leading industry and research partners from 9 EU member states.

Project participants: Christian Mohn (project leader for partner institute), Janus Larsen, Susse Wegeberg, Kim Gustavson

Maritime Spatial Plan Øresund (Havplan Øresund)

We will through the project analyse the present utilisation of Øresund and on this basis produce a number of scenarios for the future use. We will analyse the possibilities, conflicts and scenarios for the use of the sea area in Øresund in relation to sustainable development of the marine environment, industry and society activities, economy, job creation and welfare and prepare a proposal for a transnational maritime spatial plan for Øresund.

The Danish maritime spatial plan must be finished in 2021. We expect that the project in Øresund will contribute as a first example of an establishment of a maritime spatial plan.

The project is funded by the VELUX FOUNDATIONS and the project duration is 18 months and is finished on 31 December 2018. Project manager: Professor Bo Riemann.

CARbon sequestration by Greenland’s MArine forests in a warming Arctic (CARMA)

Our recent Nature Geoscience paper provided the first evidence that macroalgal forests play a substantial role in marine C-sequestration as a large fraction of their production is exported to reach oceanic C-sinks. CARMA takes these pioneering findings further by testing the hypothesis that Arctic marine forests support a globally relevant contribution to C-sequestration, which is expected to expand as climate change propels the expansion of these forests in the Arctic. CARMA applies an interdisciplinary approach at the intersection of marine ecology, geology, oceanography, remote sensing (RS), biochemistry and genetics, with Greenland, which comprises 12 % of the World’s coastline, as a test case. We use eDNA and aminoacid isotopes for tracing C from marine forests in sediments collected along Greenland latitudinal gradients. Using field data, upscaled using RS and ocean models, we will develop the first estimate of the C-sink capacity of Arctic marine forests. Contact: Dorte Krause-Jensen

Eco seaweed (ØKOTANG) - Ecological sugar kelp - industrial production of a new Danish bioresource

Sugar kelp, which is a new bioresource, becomes ever more popular in Europe. The greatest barrier for a financially viable production is the mechanisation of the method of cultivation. ØKOTANG will develop a resource-effective method for production of ecological kelp at an industrial scale. Production potential and the environmental effects will be documented and the results will create a basis for an ecological model. The model will be used to identify suitable areas for production and quantify the ecosystem services that production of kelp can provide to marine areas. The project is an industrial PhD supported by Innovation Fund Denmark between Hjarnø Havbrug, Orbicon A/S and Aarhus University, Department of Bioscience (2018-2021).
Contact: Teis Boderskov, industrial PhD student; Annette Bruhn, university supervisor; Marie Maar, co-supervisor.

NOVAGRASS - Innovative eelgrass restoration techniques

NOVAGRASS, funded by the Danish Council for Strategic Research, 2013-2017, develops novel techniques for reestablishment of eelgrass in coastal areas and explores costs and benefits of protecting and restoring eelgrass meadows. AU, Bioscience, contributes in particular with knowledge on eelgrass reproduction and how environmental variables affect reproduction. www.novagrass.dk/en - Project manager Dorte Krause-Jensen.

The pan-arctic monitoring programme: Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme (CBMP)

Aarhus University together with the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and the North Slope Science Initiative in the US are project leaders of the pan-arctic monitoring programme for ecosystems and biodiversity in the Arctic. CBMP is organized under the Arctic Council in the working group Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna and its main purpose is to cooperate about the monitoring of the arctic ecosystems and the arctic biodiversity. There are four monitoring plans in CBMP: the marine ecosystem, the coastal ecosystem, the freshwater ecosystem and the terrestrial ecosystem. CBMP publishes overviews and assessments about status and trends of relevant indicators and the next big assessment about the arctic marine ecosystems is expected to be finished in 2017. More information is available at http://www.caff.is/monitoring. Project leader Tom Christensen.

 

 

COCOA - Nutrient cocktails in coastal zones of the Baltic Sea

The objective of COCOA is to identify major pathways of nutrients and organic material in various coastal ecosystems around the Baltic Sea. Nutrients and organic matter are transformed and retained along the land-sea continuum, and COCOA will quantify how physical and chemical conditions as well as the biological components of the coastal zone affect the biogeochemical processes. We will investigate if transformation and retention processes may have changed over time, and how coastal ecosystem services are affected by these changes. As a result, COCOA will outline management responses to improve the ecological status for coastal ecosystems degraded by eutrophication. http://cocoa.au.dk - Project manager Jacob Carstensen.

 

 

MAB4

MAB4 will bridge the gap between research, innovation and market within the macroalgae sector. The goal is to establish seaweed cultivation as a Danish discipline for providing seaweed biomass for the business sectors of food and feed ingredients, and cosmetics. MAB4 will breed and mature sea-farmed crops of seaweed by improved and new cultivation methods in Danish and Faroese waters, with particular attention to seasonal development of algae bioactive substances and their conservation during harvesting and storage. The results from MAB4 will provide guidelines for stakeholders from industry and for future seaweed cultivation. Project manager Annette Bruhn.

Macrofuels

MacroFuels aims to achieve a breakthrough in biofuel production from macroalgae. The targeted biofuels are ethanol, butanol, furanics and biogas. MacroFuels will develop technology for the production of fuels which are suitable as liquid fuels or precursor thereof for the heavy transport sector as well as potentially for the aviation sector. MacroFuels will scale up the production of macroalgae as well as the biorefinery processes. Macrofuels is a 4-year H2020 project. Project manager Annette Bruhn.

Intercalibration Danish waters

The purpose of the project is to make an intercalibration of chlorophyll a in the eastern part of the Baltic and in Kattegat between Denmark, Sweden and Norway in order to be able to determine the values of the classification of high-good and good-moderate boundaries of chlorophyll a. Furthermore, the project will contribute to EU technical reports about intercalibration of macro vegetation between Sweden and Denmark and Germany and Denmark. Finally, a technical note will be written with an overview of the processes and the work, in which AU/DCE has participated in relation to intercalibration. Project manager Jacob Carstensen.

 

 

Nuuk Flora and Fauna

The project is financed by the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and is part of the basic monitoring of the Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring programme GEM – http://g-e-m.dk. We are responsible for the monitoring of marine flora in Nuuk. We focus on the rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) which is a key species in the coastal areas and its growth in Greenland is stimulated by warming. Project leader Dorte Krause-Jensen.

MARFOR - Functional variability and dynamics of responses of marine forests to global change

Marine forests - forests of large brown algae/kelps – are hotspots for production and biodiversity. Global warming moves the northern distribution of the forests further north and thus affects the marine ecosystems. The aim of the project is 1) to understand the most important factors (adaptation, physiology, genetic biodiversity and connectivity), which support the ecological function of the forests and 2) use this information to model and predict effects of climate change on the ecosystem function of the forests and viewed in the light of these facts make suggestions for strategies for sustainable management of marine forests. Project leader Dorte Krause-Jensen.

Oxygen depletion model

The purpose of the project is to update the national oxygen depletion model which is used to describe the areal distribution of oxygen depletion in the inner waters (mainly Danish waters). The oxygen depletion model is used in connection with the preparation of the yearly oxygen depletion reports. There are a number of issues connected with the modelling which partly concern the model itself and partly the data (number of stations and measuring frequency) – the update concerns only the model part. The model describes the areal distribution of oxygen depletion by combing information about the oxygen profile (from the monitoring data) for a given locality with the depths in the area. The Danish Environmental Protection Agency /the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark funds the update of the model under the framework agreement with DCE.

Project leader Jens Würgler Hansen

MuMiPro: Mussel farming -mitigation and protein source for organic husbandry

The overall objective of MuMiPro is thus to develop and optimize new mussel production concept, i.e. producing mussels as an organic protein rich feedstuff for organic husbandry and as a tool to mitigate effects of excess loading of nutrients to coastal waters thus increasing sustainable production and job opportunities. MuMiPro will focus on new ways to produce mussels at as low costs as possible. Processing technologies will be developed in order to produce high quality feedstuffs at competitive costs resulting in new business plans for the production of mussels and feed ingredients. Scientific and administrative tools for optimal site-selection and prediction of the mitigation potential will be developed. Payment mechanisms for the nutrient uptake by mussel farms will be analysed and the effect of alternative design estimated. Mitigation mussel farming will provide a new business area with creation of jobs in rural areas. At the same time organic farmers will get access to new sustainable protein-rich feedstuff and environmental management will benefit from the development of a marine mitigation measure. Project runs in the period 2017-2020 and is financed by Innovation Fund Denmark.

 

Project leader Karen Timmermann

SeaStatus: Innovative Technologies for Quantification of Sea Status

SeaStatus will exploit the potential of combining novel and traditional measurement techniques with ecosystem modelling to improve the information basis for management. New routines for standardisation, integration and processing of large and differentiated data sets are required in order to extract the embedded information and integrate this into model-based decision support tools. Applying a broad range of classical and new statistical analyses, rooted in data mining and big data analytics, as well as grey-box and mechanistic modelling approaches, we will develop a framework for improved real-time description and predictions of the marine environment. The focus on adaptive management and easily accessible models that provide estimates of uncertainties and allow for risk assessments is new in ecosystem management. The vision is to support decisions and introduce adaptive environmental management. The beneficiaries of the project comprise both public institutions and private enterprises. Applying new cost-effective approaches is the key to maintaining and strengthening the strong Danish position in the world market and supporting Danish export of environmental knowledge and technology. Project runs in the period 2017-2020 and is financed by Innovation Fund Denmark.

 

Project leader Karen Timmermann

Seaweed now

Seaweed is a valuable resource, primarily used today in food and feed. However, the perspectives in seaweed in Denmark reach much further. Cultivating and harvesting seaweed in Danish waters provide an instrument for recapturing some of the excess nutrients that generate problems in our marine coastal areas – and it enables us to re-use the nutrients as a bio-resource in the land-based economic system.

Tang.nu has focus on four species: Sugar kelp, sea lettuce, bladderwrack and dulse. Over the coming four years we will deliver essential results contributing to a thorough, balanced and sustainable management plan for our production systems on land and in the sea, with regard to marine spatial planning, as well as food and feed safety. The project gathers 27 partners from industry, authorities and knowledge institutions. We will collect and generate knowledge through focused experimental work, as well as exchange of existing and new knowledge across professional boundaries.

The project is funded by THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS and runs from 2017-2020. Senior researcher Annette Bruhn, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, is project leader.

INTAROS

INTAROS - Integrated Arctic Observation System -  is a large international project with 49 partners from 20 countries. The project runs from 2016 to 2021 and is financed by EU’s Horizon 2020 with 15.5 million €. The accelerating climate change in the Arctic calls for better and more coordinated data collection in the region in order to:

  1. improve our understanding of climate change and its consequences for the Arctic ecosystem
  2. be able to develop and improve the Arctic society and economies as well as respond to the harmful effects of climate change

AU’s role in the project is to contribute with knowledge from the Greenlandic monitoring programme, Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring, and by means of existing data and ecological models to study how the marine ecosystem – and especially commercial fish species – is affected by climate change.

http://www.intaros.eu/

Project manager: Mikael Kristian Sejr

MarinBasis_Zackenberg

This is the marine component of the climate monitoring programme in East Greenland situated at the research stations Daneborg and Zackenberg. Aarhus University together with the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources are responsible for collecting data every summer and have been doing this since 2003. The monitoring programme often involves research projects, master’s thesis and PhD projects. A list of research projects is available from the website of the Arctic Research Centre - http://arctic.au.dk/.

Project manager: Mikael Kristian Sejr

The coupling between fiords and the ice sheet

The melting of the ice sheet has accelerated dramatically during the last 20 years and the amount of meltwater, which has run into the Greenlandic fiords, has thus increased. During the last five years, we have studied the effects closely at the research stations in Daneborg and Nuuk. The objective of this project is to visit a number of new fiords in West and East Greenland to find out if the knowledge we have from the two monitored fiords is representative of other areas in Greenland. In 2016, the project made a long expedition in the area between Disko Bay and Upernavik and the plan is to do a similar expedition in East Greenland in the summer of 2018.

Project manager: Mikael Kristian Sejr