In this research theme, we study the structure and functioning of life at the sediment-water interface, in shallow freshwater and marine ecosystems. At this interface a multitude of biological, chemical and physical processes take place that sustain and modify benthic life that is formed by consortia of bacteria, algae, invertebrates, and macrophytes. Key questions are:
- How do benthic communities depend on and adapt to processes such as sedimentation and resuspension of particles or diffusion of gases and solutes (e.g., oxygen, methane, nutrients)?
- In turn, do benthic organisms modify these physical and chemical processes through their activities?
- How is benthic life coupled to the pelagic system and thereby to ecological functioning of aquatic ecosystems at larger spatial and temporal scales?
Our research often involves fieldwork combined with an experimental approach, and is carried out in systems ranging from agricultural ditches and shallow lakes to estuaries and tropical seagrass beds. Many projects are carried out in close cooperation with local water managers.