Sponge 3-in-1


Ecological Functioning


Towards greater sustainability in the petroleum and aquaculture industry


MEIOFAUNA: 0,32 - 1 mm in size


Seafloor functioning: Biomass formation constituting the foodweb ultimately feeding man and nutrient recyling fueling primary production is an indispensable function of the seafloor, the largest habitat of the planet. Mankind functions across habitats and has identified oceans as a major source of resources: capturing fresh packages of energy (such as organic matter packed as fish) but also performing "time-travel" i.e. capable of locating and tapping ancient packages of energy (such as recovering oil which is in fact organic matter deposited millions of years ago on the seafloor). Fruits of the ocean play an increasingly larger role is sustaining the growing population of humans. However, because of the potential feedback loops and interdependence of man and seafloor functioning, it is of vital importance that anthropogenic activity, such as aquaculture and oil recovery, are conducted in a sustainable way.


Actualizing and maintaining sustainable anthropogenic activity calls for a better understanding of the factors modulating structure and functioning of seafloor communities. Aquaculture derived organic matter (AOM) reaching the seafloor represents unnatural sedimentation of organic matter; this may also be feed for the seafloor community but its fate and trophic significance in the seafloor is not well known. Studying minute bacteria to large worms and the impact of organic matter packaging (the menu) on their structure and functioning is the focus of the projects.. Working detailed across Kingdoms and Phyla creates the unique opportunity of not only fine tuning existent environment assessment tools but also of potentially indentifying new, efficient, low costs tools easily sampled and quantified with a small volume of sediment.