Facing the challenge in person for the first time

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As core members of the Hydralab+ RESIST project we met for the first time in person at the FZK’s large wave flume facility (GWK) to discuss the challenge of preparing all of our 75(!) europallet-sized sediment and plant containers to be ready for the experimental runs in August this year. The challenge is enormous, but so is our enthusiasm…

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Especially Tjeerd was so fascinated by the flume, its dimensions and possibilities that he kept sneaking away from the meeting and we constantly wondered: Where is Tjeerd?

And on that basis, we believe that we can achieve what we set out to do: to detect the wave energy thresholds beyond which seedlings and mature plants are damaged and/or removed from the tidal flats upon which they have become established during less stressful times. Knowing those thresholds will allow the people who look after our coastal communities, properties, and ecosystems, to plan better for the future. And who knows, perhaps we will also be able to find out how we can support plants during their early life stages, e.g. through placing biodegradable protection on the tidal flat until the plants are strong enough to withstand the highest storm surge…

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Gardening time!

With the new fresh leaves arising on the trees and flowers blooming everywhere, spring is definitely in the air. This makes the perfect time to plant our tussocks into the sediment boxes outside.

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The RESIST gardening team prepared the boxes and arranged the different tussock setups for the various plant species. Finally they put the irrigation system in place.

Now lets grow some marsh species!

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Preparations are in full swing

A hard-boiled group of RESIST team members went out to the marshes this month to collect salt marsh sods that will build the foundation for the salt marsh patches we will expose to hydrodynamic forces in the flume. Frost does not allow to plant them into the pallet boxes directly, but this step will be completed as soon as possible. Until then they will sit safe and sound all over the glass house.

Once in the pallet boxes, the vegetation will root into the boxes’ soil and expand laterally, providing us with a range of growth stages from freshly developed apical shoots to well established root/rhizome systems.

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How strong and stable?…

Yes, we are planning another amazing experiment, to see how strong and stable tidal flat sediments and marsh vegetation really are… watch this space!!

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Our experimental footage appears on Arte TV ‘Futuremag’ documentary!!

Check out the beautiful documentary on ‘natural coastal protection’ produced by the German/French TV Channel ‘Arte’ and screened last Saturday 21st November. Well worth a look even if you do not understand the languages!:

French:

http://youtu.be/fh1Bh3MxmKg

German:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YuATQGzjxI

 

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Franziska passes her PhD viva!

… with an appropriately decorated mortar board – even the mice get a space on it!

IMG_4280 IMG_4278Congratulations! Well deserved! And a big ‘thank you’ – Without Franziska, the marsh would never have made it to the flume!

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University news covers our story…

The University of Cambridge covered our story last week on its main news page… Check it out on here…:

http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/salt-marsh-plants-key-to-reducing-coastal-erosion-and-flooding

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