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Concept: North Sea


Self-facilitation through ecosystem engineering (i.e., organism modification of the abiotic environment) and consumer-resource interactions are both major determinants of spatial patchiness in ecosystems. However, interactive effects of these two mechanisms on spatial complexity have not been extensively studied. We investigated the mechanisms underlying a spatial mosaic of low-tide exposed hummocks and waterlogged hollows on an intertidal mudflat in the Wadden Sea dominated by the seagrass Zostera noltii. A combination of field measurements, an experiment and a spatially explicit model indicated that the mosaic resulted from localized sediment accretion by seagrass followed by selective waterfowl grazing. Hollows were bare in winter, but were rapidly colonized by seagrass during the growth season. Colonized hollows were heavily grazed by brent geese and widgeon in autumn, converting these patches to a bare state again and disrupting sediment accretion by seagrass. In contrast, hummocks were covered by seagrass throughout the year and were rarely grazed, most likely because the waterfowl were not able to employ their preferred but water requiring feeding strategy (‘dabbling’) here. Our study exemplifies that interactions between ecosystem engineering by a foundation species (seagrass) and consumption (waterfowl grazing) can increase spatial complexity at the landscape level.

Concepts: Zosteraceae, Systems ecology, North Sea, Zostera, Frisian Islands, Seagrass, Wadden Sea, Ecosystem


The survival rate of sudden Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrests (OHCAs) increases by early notification of Emergency Medical Systems (EMS) and early application of basic life support (BLS) techniques and defibrillation. A Text Message ™ alert system for trained volunteers in the community was implemented in the Netherlands to reduce response times. The aim of this study was to assess if this system improves survival after OHCA.

Concepts: North Sea, Prostitution in the Netherlands, Asystole, Emergency medical technician, Basic life support, Cardiac arrest, Emergency medical services


Knowledge of the range and chronology of historic trade and long-distance transport of natural resources is essential for determining the impacts of past human activities on marine environments. However, the specific biological sources of imported fauna are often difficult to identify, in particular if species have a wide spatial distribution and lack clear osteological or isotopic differentiation between populations. Here, we report that ancient fish-bone remains, despite being porous, brittle, and light, provide an excellent source of endogenous DNA (15-46%) of sufficient quality for whole-genome reconstruction. By comparing ancient sequence data to that of modern specimens, we determine the biological origin of 15 Viking Age (800-1066 CE) and subsequent medieval (1066-1280 CE) Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) specimens from excavation sites in Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom. Archaeological context indicates that one of these sites was a fishing settlement for the procurement of local catches, whereas the other localities were centers of trade. Fish from the trade sites show a mixed ancestry and are statistically differentiated from local fish populations. Moreover, Viking Age samples from Haithabu, Germany, are traced back to the North East Arctic Atlantic cod population that has supported the Lofoten fisheries of Norway for centuries. Our results resolve a long-standing controversial hypothesis and indicate that the marine resources of the North Atlantic Ocean were used to sustain an international demand for protein as far back as the Viking Age.

Concepts: Europe, Baltic Sea, Canada, United Kingdom, Atlantic Ocean, North Sea, Norway, Cod


Marine litter presents a global problem, with increasing quantities documented in recent decades. The distribution and abundance of marine litter on the seafloor off the United Kingdom’s (UK) coasts were quantified during 39 independent scientific surveys conducted between 1992 and 2017. Widespread distribution of litter items, especially plastics, were found on the seabed of the North Sea, English Channel, Celtic Sea and Irish Sea. High variation in abundance of litter items, ranging from 0 to 1835 pieces km-2of seafloor, was observed. Plastic tems such as bags, bottles and fishing related debris were commonly observed across all areas. Over the entire 25-year period (1992-2017), 63% of the 2461 trawls contained at least one plastic litter item. There was no significant temporal trend in the percentage of trawls containing any or total plastic litter items across the long-term datasets. Statistically significant trends, however, were observed in specific plastic litter categories only. These trends were all positive except for a negative trend in plastic bags in the Greater North Sea - suggesting that behavioural and legislative changes could reduce the problem of marine litter within decades.

Concepts: Scotland, North Sea, British Isles, Europe, England, English Channel, Atlantic Ocean, United Kingdom


Plastic ingestion by marine biota has been reported for a variety of different taxa. In this study, we investigated 290 gastrointestinal tracts of demersal (cod, dab and flounder) and pelagic fish species (herring and mackerel) from the North and Baltic Sea for the occurrence of plastic ingestion. In 5.5% of all investigated fishes, plastic particles were detected, with 74% of all particles being in the microplastic (<5mm) size range. The polymer types of all found particles were analysed by means of Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. Almost 40% of the particles consisted of polyethylene (PE). In 3.4% of the demersal and 10.7% of the pelagic individuals, plastic ingestion was recorded, showing a significantly higher ingestion frequency in the pelagic feeders. The condition factor K was calculated to test differences in the fitness status between individuals with and without ingested plastic, but no direct effect was detected.

Concepts: Norway, Forage fish, Spectroscopy, Denmark, North Sea, Pelagic fish, Atlantic Ocean, Baltic Sea


For the offshore wind farm Borkum West II in the German North Sea the Noise Mitigation System (NMS) “Big Bubble Curtain” was used during pile driving activities. Within this project systematically variations of different influencing factors on noise reductions such as air volume, nozzle hose sizes, distance of nozzle hoses, etc., were investigated. Additionally the “Big Bubble Curtain” is currently in use for different other OWF in the German North Sea. Therefore, the “Big Bubble Curtain-BBC” is at the moment one of the most investigated NMS under offshore condition. Within this presentation, experiences and results of the above listed projects will be shown and discussed.

Concepts: Europe, Thorntonbank Wind Farm, Floating wind turbine, Baltic Sea, North Sea, Germany, Wind farm, Wind power


The distribution of total arsenic in different portions of Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus L, Crustacea) was studied both in fresh samples and after a boiling process. All individuals (n = 80) were selected of medium standard commercial size (13-15 cm). The highest mean concentrations (26.86 ± 1.57 mg/kg wet weight) were found in the raw brown meat of the crustacean, probably due to its detoxification role, while the lowest mean values (15.97 ± 0.85 mg/kg wet weight) were in the raw exoskeleton. The raw white meat reported mean values of 16.09 ± 0.61 mg/kg w.w. The levels of arsenic contamination detected in the boiled portions showed a significant (p < 0.01) decrease compared to the raw portions, as a consequence of solubilization phenomena. In fact, a large amount of arsenic from raw lobsters was transferred to the corresponding boiling broth. In the most common consumed portion, the white meat, only few losses (7.22 %) in total arsenic content were observed compared to the raw portion.

Concepts: Decapoda, North Sea, Exoskeleton, Langostino, Arthropod, Norway lobster, Crustacean, Lobster


Our purpose was 2-fold: 1) to show emergency-related traumatic injury and acute disease patterns and 2) to evaluate air rescue process times in a remotely located German offshore wind farm. Optimally, this will support methodologies to reduce offshore help time (time from the incoming emergency call until offshore arrival of the helicopter).

Concepts: Surgery, Physical trauma, Germany, North Sea, Floating wind turbine, Wind farm, Injury, Wind power


Here we provide empirical evidence of the presence of an energetic pathway between jellyfish and a commercially important invertebrate species. Evidence of scavenging on jellyfish carcasses by the Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) was captured during two deployments of an underwater camera system to 250-287 m depth in Sognefjorden, western Norway. The camera system was baited with two Periphylla periphylla (Scyphozoa) carcasses to simulate the transport of jellyfish detritus to the seafloor, hereby known as jelly-falls. N. norveigus rapidly located and consumed a large proportion (>50%) of the bait. We estimate that the energy input from jelly-falls may represent a significant contribution to N. norvegicus energy demand (0.21 to 10.7 times the energy required for the population of N. norvegicus in Sognefjorden). This potentially high energetic contribution from jelly-falls highlights a possible role of gelatinous material in the support of commercial fisheries. Such an energetic pathway between jelly-falls and N. norvegicus could become more important with increases in jellyfish blooms in some regions.

Concepts: Scampi, Overfishing, Mass, Langostino, North Sea, Jellyfish, Lobster, Norway lobster