M I D A S
Marine Information and Data Acquisition System
BEWREMABI [Project info]   [Back]
BEWREMABI - Belgian Shipwreck : hotspots for marine biodiversity Shipwrecks provide increased habitat complexity, and hence attract and harbour many more species than the relatively homogenous soft substrates in their vicinity. Hard substrates offer an opportunity for sessile epifauna to settle and a refugium from predators for mobile epifauna and nekton. Several wrecks are candidates for the designation of Marine Protected Areas in Belgium. They can be used as a model for other hard substrates, like the foundations of windmills that will be built in the Belgian part of the North Sea in the near future. Wrecks form an impediment to fishing, and provide a model for non-fishing areas. One of the objectives of this study is to compare the soft-bottom fauna of the open areas with the less-intensely trawled bottoms adjacent to the wrecks. Methods Five wrecks located in Belgian waters will be sampled for biotic and abiotic data at different periods of the year. The meiofauna, macrofauna and epifauna of the wrecks will be studied by direct observations, photographs and sampling by divers. Macrofauna in the soft substrates around the wreck will be sampled in situ by S.C.U. B.A. using suction dredger and cores. Slow moving sessile fauna will be sampled by scraping selected quadrats. Small swimming and/or nocturnal fauna will be caught by means of baited traps. Large swimming epifauna will be sampled visually in situ. Density, biomass, and species composition of the benthic communities of the different wrecks will be described, and biodiversity will be estimated. Within each wreck, studies will be conducted in order to compare different factors affecting biodiversity: period of the year (i.e. seasonal effect), orientation of the sampled station (i.e. horizontal and vertical surfaces), depths of the station and other abiotic factors around the wrecks such as water temperature, conductivity, irradiance, currents, turbidity. Historical data sets and mathematical models will also be used. By means of multivariate statistical techniques, the ecological communities of the wrecks will be compared to each other and to those of the surrounding sediments. The species assemblages will also be compared with those of natural and artificial hard substrates in Belgium, northern France and eastern England (both intertidal and subtidal structures: literature survey and input from end-user committee).

Cruise Area Start End
04-561 BCP 10 Aug 2004 11 Aug 2004
04-640 BCP 21 Oct 2004 21 Oct 2004
04-720 BCP 02 Dec 2004 02 Dec 2004
04-760 BCP 22 Dec 2004 23 Dec 2004
05-010 BCP 04 Jan 2005 05 Jan 2005
05-030 BCP 18 Jan 2005 19 Jan 2005
05-060 BCP 03 Feb 2005 04 Feb 2005
05-110   04 Mar 2005 04 Mar 2005
05-150   17 Mar 2005 18 Mar 2005
05-210 BCP 18 Apr 2005 18 Apr 2005
05-260 BCP 02 May 2005 04 May 2005
05-290 BCP 18 May 2005 18 May 2005
05-320 BCP 01 Jun 2005 03 Jun 2005
05-370 BCP 27 Jun 2005 30 Jun 2005
05-393 BCP 17 Aug 2005 17 Aug 2005
05-412 BCP 30 Aug 2005 30 Aug 2005
05-450 BCP 26 Sep 2005 28 Sep 2005
05-480 BCP 13 Oct 2005 14 Oct 2005
05-520 BCP 27 Oct 2005 28 Oct 2005
05-530   10 Nov 2005 10 Nov 2005
05-580 BCP 24 Nov 2005 25 Nov 2005
06-150 BCP 08 Mar 2006 09 Mar 2006
06-210 BCP 24 Mar 2006 24 Mar 2006
06-270 BCP 06 Apr 2006 07 Apr 2006
06-360 BCP 11 May 2006 11 May 2006
06-420 BCP 08 Jun 2006 08 Jun 2006
06-430 BCP 21 Jun 2006 23 Jun 2006