Ocean Observation | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

Ocean Observation

VLIZ wants to contribute to an integrated ocean observing system to improve our understanding of the complex marine environment and to supply our ocean ecosystem models with data. We will use online in situ and remote sensor networks to observe the marine ecosystem, including marine life.

To do so we optimize the in situ deployment of chemical, physical, and biotic sensors and the corresponding data streams. For the remote sensing part, we will improve and develop remote sensing technology for use in shallow coastal waters (e.g. for detecting major taxa of phytoplankton) and validate ecosystem characteristics derived from satellite sensors based on in situ measurements. Our sensor networks heavily depend on our fixed and seagoing platforms and the Marine Robotics Centre.

Below water, we aim to improve near-shore bottom and sub-bottom acoustic observations, also where the presence of natural gas interferes with classical acoustic measurements. We also want to analyse this natural gas in sediments off the Belgian coast. This research will inform us on the amount of gas in the shallow sediments and in the water column of the southern North Sea and its impact on sediment properties, such as cohesion.

Regarding visual observation, we mostly focus on biotic samples and how image processing technologies can help quantifying species plankton communities. This will enable us to further automatize the gathering of data that eventually enables us to better understand the marine ecosystem in order to predict and manage impacts of anthropogenic change.  Finally we want to apply and develop emerging, transforming and innovative technology to enhance marine robotics in our marine robotics centre.

For more detailed information on our research on Ocean Observation we refer to the VLIZ Research Strategy.