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Non-belspo (2002-2006)

Si-WEBS - Natural and anthropogenic modifications of the Si cycle along the land-ocean continuum: Worldwide Ecological, biogeochemical and Socio-economical consequences

Project description

The general objective of the Si-WEBS network is to integrate the Si biogeochemical cycle into a human perspective, by evaluating the worldwide impacts of natural and anthropogenic perturbations of the coastal Si cycle onto a) the ecology of coastal ecosystems, b) the biogeochemistry of the global Si and C cycles, and c) the socio-economics of the coastal zone. The importance of Si for both coastal ecosystem health and the C cycle arises from the unique requirement of diatoms for this nutrient. Diatoms are unicellular algae that play a key role in the export of carbon, towards higher trophic levels (they form the basis of high quality food chains) and the ocean interior (and thus in the C biological pump). To reach these general objectives, Si-WEBS will proceed in 4 steps:

1) improve our fundamental knowledge of the coupling between the Si and C cycles in rivers, coastal zones and open oceans, first separately, then during their interactions;
2) build quantitative modeling tools to describe Si transformations along the land-ocean continuum;
3) use these modeling tools to evaluate ecological, biogeochemical and socio-economical consequences, of natural and anthropogenic watershed perturbations on the coastal zone;
4) provide innovative tools that will include Si as a key parameter for coastal ecosystem management in a sustainable perspective (a coupled river/coastal zone model to simulate the effects of various watershed management policies, early warning indicators) to policy makers.

Eight teams have been brought together to carry out this strongly interdisciplinary research. This unique combination of scientists with complementary expertise in various fields (ecology, bio-geochemistry, global modeling, socio-economics), with various skills (experimentalist, modeler, data manager), and acting in various environments (from the watershed to the open ocean) shall make this network a success, both in terms of scientific achievements and training of young researchers

Complementary resources about this scientific project

Project team


Olivier Ragueneau
Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer
Technopole Brest-Iroise
Place Nicolas Copernic
29280 Plouzané
Phone: +33 298 49 8644
Fax: +33 298 49 8645

Involved research group:

Christiane Lancelot
Ecologie des Systèmes Aquatiques
Université Libre de Bruxelles
BP 221
1050 Bruxelles
Phone: +32 2650 5988
Fax: +32 2650 5993

Daniel J. Conley
Danmarks Miljøundersøgelser
National Environmental Research Institute
Department of Marine Ecology
Frederiksborgvej 399
P.O. Box 358
DK-4000 Roskilde
Phone: +45 4630 1862
Fax: +45 4630 1114

Josette Garnier
Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris 6
4, place Jussieu
75252 Paris CEDEX 05
Phone: +33 01 44 27 70 27

Philippe Van Cappellen
Department of Geochemistry
Utrecht University
PB 80021
3508 TA Utrecht
The Netherlands
Phone: +31 30 253 6220
Fax: +31 30 253 5302

Panagiotis Michalopoulos
Institute of Oceanography
National Center for Marine Research
16604 Athens
Phone: +30 1 965 3520
Fax: +30 1 965 3522

Richard S. J. Tol
Forschungsstelle Nachhaltige Umweltentwicklung
Zentrum für Meeres- und Klimaforschung
Universität Hamburg
20148 Hamburg
Phone: +49 40 42838 7007
Fax: +49 40 42838 7009

Michael Diepenbroek
Institute for Marine Environmental Sciences
Universität Bremen
Postfach 330440
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218 7765
Fax: +49 471 4831 189

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