Understanding & Optimizing Observations | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

Understanding & Optimizing Observations

The Marine Observation Centre (MOC) performs essential and long-term multidisciplinary observations in the marine environment in order to improve our understanding of the dynamics and changes of marine and coastal ecosystems. Therefore VLIZ develops, deploys and optimizes cost-effective, innovative and integrated observation systems. Measurements and observations are performed by a network of bio-sensors at sea and during monthly and seasonal multi-disciplinary campaigns on the Belgian part of the North Sea with the RV Simon Stevin.

We make maximum use of innovative, state-of-the-art automated techniques (telemetry, GPS localization, image-based and acoustic recording, genetic profiling, etc.) to perform biodiversity-related measurements – if possible in real time. This way, VLIZ contributes to strengthening Europe’s Capability in Biological Ocean Observations. Continuous research efforts aim at the further development and refinement of these smart measurement methods including artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The observations result in high quality long-term data series, which feed into research in e.g. the areas of plankton ecology, echolocation and marine noise, biotelemetry and fish movements. We optimize zooplankton imaging observations for a representative observation of the present plankton composition and to understand its natural variation and possible changes. Another example of this research is the characterization of the underwater sound environment and the evaluation of its role in the structure and dynamics of marine habitats and biodiversity.

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