Palaeolandscape research | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

Palaeolandscape research

Our research on palaeolandscapes in the North Sea covers several research lines that include paleontological, palaeobiological, geological and geophysical aspects. The southern North Sea, including the Belgian continental shelf, has experienced major sea level fluctuations during the Quaternary, resulting in fossil-rich marine, terrestrial and fluvial deposits. We study these sediments and their associated fauna using morphological, microscopic, elemental and molecular techniques to better understand the nature of landscape changes and their influence on the palaeofauna and human occupation.



In particular, we study nearshore sediments off the Belgian coast. Pollen and diatom analysis will, combined with dating methods, provide us with a timeline of Quaternary landscape change in the area. Another focus are fossils of a walrus colony that inhabited the Belgian coast in the late Pleistocene. We use a comparative approach to put this colony in a palaeophylogeographic context. A third line of research focuses on topological features in the southern North Sea and the English Channel that might be related to rapid landscape evolution at the end of the last glacial period.

Main partners in this research are the Ghent University, the Royal Institute for Natural Sciences (RBINS), the Natural History Museum of Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and the University of Bradford (UK).

From 18 to 20 November 2019 the Geological Survey of the Netherlands (TNO) orgnises - in cooperation with the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and the Renard Centre of Marine Geology of Ghent University - the North Sea Palaeolandscapes Conference 2019 in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Contact VLIZ for more information on this research project: Tine Missiaen