During the last decade, artificial hard substrates have increasingly been installed in coastal areas that generally consisted of sandy sediments. These artificial hard substrates serve different purposes, including coastal defense works, installation of renewable energy installations, nature restoration…

These artificial hard substrates are home of a high variety of fouling organisms, occurring in high densities. These new communities locally affect primary production and the pelagic nutrient budget and change sediment properties, structural and functional diversity of the benthos, and benthic mineralization rates. In addition, the effects of these introductions need to be addressed in the context of a globally changing marine environment (climate change, ocean acidification). A full understanding of links between the altered biodiversity and the local and regional biogeochemical cycles requires cross-disciplinary approaches where ecologists, biogeochemist and ecosystem and oceanographic modelers join forces.

Within this summer school, PhD students and early post-docs will be initiated in experimental methodology to investigate the effect of animal activity on biogeochemical cycling in both sediments and the water column. Class-room lectures will provide participants with an overview on the recent developments in the research field and will be combined with hands-on experiments on both hard- and soft substrate biogeochemical cycling (optode and electrode techniques, nutrient cycling, bio-irrigation) using state-of-the art experimental equipment. Lectures on ecosystem and oceanographic modeling will show how local processes can be scaled up to regional scales. Finally, students will be initiated in the application of obtained results in a managerial context. Further details can be found here and a detailed programme is available at https://goo.gl/0ckcSb.