Population and spatial dynamics of the tube-building ecosystem engineer Lanice conchilega (Pallas, 1766) .

Progress not set: January 2013 -

This project aims at explaining why and how reefs of the tubeworm Lanice conchilega are created and evolve over time. This organism, also known as sandmason, forms aggregations in the intertidal zones of coasts around the North Sea. These have been classified as reefs and it impacts the living organisms around it as well as physical characteristics of the coast. Thus, the sandmason is a key species in coastal zones and understanding its ecology and consequences of its presence is important for improving environmental management of coastal resources. This study aims at identifying and characterizing the processes that contribute to the maintenance of these reefs’ stability and longevity. It combines manipulative experimentation with a cost-effective remote sensing technique (kite aerial photography) to build an ecological model explaining population and spatial dynamics for this species.