advanced progress in coastal Eutrophication To Stake holders and
the scientific community) is a cluster of three Belgian Science
Policy research projects [AMORE,
gathering Belgian scientists experts in coastal
questions such as the filtering capacity of the Belgian coastal
zone with respect to anthropogenic nutrients and carbon, the impact
of nutrient reductions on the spreading of algal blooms in the Belgian
coastal zone and adjacent areas and the impact of harmful algal
blooms on marine resources.
The objectives of COMETS are to:
promote the visibility of Belgian activities related to marine
coastal eutrophication towards the international scientific community
and the various stake holders (public authorities, industry, fishermen,
non-governmental organisation, the general public).
visibility of Belgian activities related to marine coastal eutrophication
towards the international scientific community and the various
install a sustained dialogue based on mutual respect, between
scientists and public authorities and policy makers for guiding
decisions in the matter of eutrophication-related problems and
protection of continental and marine waters.
is "an increase in the rate of organic matter production in
an ecosystem" (Nixon, 1995). In coastal waters, this is caused
by an increased delivery to the sea of anthropogenic nutrients due
to industrial effluents, agricultural runoff and municipal sewage.
loads, considerably enriched in nitrogen and phosphorus compared
to silicon, induce a modification of the phytoplankton community
structure with dominance of opportunistic non-siliceous species.
occur as harmful algal blooms (HAB) either toxic or forming high
biomass. Both impact negatively on the marine environment and its
resources by causing structural changes in the natural foods webs
(shifts from the linear to loop food chains, from crustacean to
gelatinous trophic chains).
also constitute a serious hindrance to the socio-economic development
of coastal areas through their negative impact on tourism, recreational
activities and fisheries.
In the Belgian
Coastal Zone (BCZ) severely enriched by direct and indirect nutrient
inputs, mucilaginous colonies of Phaeocystis are taking benefit
of the superfluous nitrates and dominate the ecosystem each spring.
Being not grazed by higher trophic levels, these colonies are responsible
of the large foam accumulations visible on the beaches in May.