DTU Aqua’s research into Coastal Ecology deals with the structure and function of the ecosystems as a habitat for fish and shellfish as well as with coastal area management.
Research into Coastal Ecology has three main themes:
- Habitat sustainability, stability and resilience
DTU Aqua conducts research into the structure and function of coastal areas as a habitat for fish and shellfish. We also research the stability and resilience of coastal systems in relation to climate change and other human influences, e.g. fisheries, invasive species and nutrient emissions.
- Restoring habitats and promoting fish stocks
Habitat restoration in marine areas is a new field of research. Using its knowledge of ecosystems as a platform, DTU Aqua develops methods for re-establishing cavernous boulder reefs and mussel beds. Furthermore, juvenile marine fish are released and monitored with the aim to enhance local stocks.
- Integrated coastal zone management
Coastal areas are used for many commercial and recreational purposes. DTU Aqua conducts research into how advanced management models and tools may support sustainable exploitation of coastal areas, including models that integrate biological and socio-economic knowledge in a holistic management approach.
Why do we do research into Coastal Ecology?
Denmark’s coastline totals 7,300 km and the coastal areas serve an important function as nature areas, commercially and recreationally. It is thus important to conduct research into the effect of human impact and climate change on coastal ecosystems.
Shallow coastal areas function as feeding grounds for many fish and are an important habitat for juvenile fish. The areas thus support valuable commercial and recreational fishing. Coastal nature areas have been subjected to many years of destruction which has made it necessary to restore the functionality of these areas. DTU Aqua thus works to develop methods for restoring fish habitats and management tools that integrate nature conservation, commercial opportunities and the extensive recreational potential of coastal areas.
Coastal areas differ from open waters in several ways and thus constitute an independent field of research at DTU Aqua. Coastal waters are shallow, and the impact from human activity is more visible here than in the open sea. Furthermore, climate change will be particularly noticeable in coastal areas where an increased local inflow of fresh water will impact water salinity and nutrient emissions. In addition, shallow coastal waters are heated more quickly by increasing air temperatures.
Coastal areas are characterised by involving diverse interests – both commercial and recreational and in relation to nature conservation. Consequently, the management of coastal areas often involves a wider range of stakeholders than that seen in the management of other marine areas.
What is the research used for?
The results of DTU Aqua’s coastal ecology research are used in particular for providing consulting services to authorities involved in the management of coastal areas or fisheries, e.g. the EU, the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Danish Nature Agency, municipalities etc.
The consulting services provided to the authorities involve developing methods for restoring or managing coastal areas and assessing the environmental impacts of mussel fishing. DTU Aqua provides knowledge about the importance of coastal areas as fish and shellfish habitats and the significance of environmental impacts for these habitats.
DTU Aqua’s researchers collaborate closely with recreational fishing organisations on several projects. For example, we are collaborating with local anglers from all of Denmark on a project to learn more about local fish populations in coastal areas.
DTU Aqua’s researchers also work on specific projects aimed at restoring coastal ecosystems. We are currently working on a project in which part of Nørre Fjord in Helnæs Bay on Funen is being restored in collaboration with local anglers and the authorities.
View projects within the research area "Coastal Ecology" in the project database DTU Orbit.
Senior Research Scientist Josianne G. Støttrup, tel. +45 35 88 34 42,
Coastal fish Resource Consultant Hanne Nicolajsen, tel. +45 35 88 32 07,