Last week we had the Coastal Ecology Workshop (CEW) in Westerhever, Germany. As always it was a great mixture of interesting talks, a nice, although rather foggy, excursion and lots of informal evening fun.
This year we had 43 participants from the UK, The Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and Germany, with most of the people coming from Germany. This could of course be due to the proximity of the venue and many participants from Hamburg, but was likely also due to the new project BEFmate, a collaboration of the Universities of Oldenburg and Göttingen. The presentations about the project were very interesting and gave a good overview about the experiment in which biodiversity effects on the marsh of Spiekeroog are investigated and compared to artificial islands installed in the Wadden Sea.
In general I would say the CEW was very diverse this year with topics ranging from grey seals, fish, birds and oysters, over grazing to marsh resilience, soils and sediments. Fish also played a big role during the excursion, when Julia Friese and Andreas Dänhardt showed us how to catch fish in a creek.
Next to the Wadden Sea and UK coasts we also heard about the Chesapeake Bay marshes, seagrass in Mauretania and even about elephants as Georgette Lagendijk told us about her previous work in Africa. It was a great pleasure for me to meet Georgette, as she is going to work on the rotational grazing treatment of the grazing experiment of my PhD-project.
I was also very glad that my current projects were represented well in the workshop. Peter Müller gave a presentation about his MSc-project, a collaboration with Pat Megonigal of the SERC, while Hai Do Thi was talking about the origin of carbon in salt marsh soils, a part of the INTERFACE project. Dennis Schulze, who recently started a PhD-project, presented the plans for his first chapter, a project in collaboration with the WWF dealing with sedimentation on the Hallig Langeneß. Dirk Granse, who is currently finishing up his MSc-project, presented very interesting results on grazing effects on microbial abundance in salt-marsh soils. Finally, we had poster presentation by Svenja Reents on decomposition of belowground organic matter in grazed and ungrazed salt marshes and Florian Rink on our experiment to test how clonal integration enables Elymus to invade otherwise unsuitable habitats. Great job everybody!
It was a really nice workshop this year (as always) and I can’t wait for next year, when Jasmin Mantilla Contreras and her working group from the University of Hildesheim will host the CEW 2016 somewhere at the Baltic coast!