Bureau Waardenburg
Varkensmarkt 9
4101 CK Culemborg
the Netherlands
T: +31 (0) 345 512710
email buwa

Offshore ecologisch onderzoek
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Offshore ecological research

We have a vast amount of experience of working in the offshore environment. From aerial surveys above the water to diving beneath the waves, Bureau Waardenburg has a varied and fully certified offshore team consisting of bird ecologists, marine mammal observers and professional ecological divers.

Further information about our offshore projects can be found in our special offshore newsletter, first published in July 2012, and in our Ecology and Offshore Windenergy leaflet.

Bird research

We use a range of for studying birds offshore including radar. Remote offshore locations often lend themselves to automatic radar systems that monitor and record the numbers, flight heights and flight paths of 24 hours a day. We have experience of such systems (Merlin) at offshore installations, including wind farms.

Visual observations are an important component in radar studies. As well as observation from fixed platforms and ships we have experience of surveying from aircraft. Aerial surveys are efficient for covering large areas, and as such are frequently used for surveying and monitoring in the North Sea. 

GPS loggers can be used to track birds at sea and give insights into key foraging and resting areas. This technique has proven useful in our recent studies on cormorants and lesser black-backed gulls.

Marine Mammal Observers (MMOs)

During offshore bird surveys marine mammals are also recorded. Several of our offshore observers are also certified marine mammals observers (MMO) and have carried our specific monitoring of marine mammals in the North Sea. Many of our observers have been involved with the recording of marine mammals from ships or aircraft.

Professional divers

Since 2009 several of our marine ecologists have been fully certified as professional divers. In 2012 one of our marine ecologists also qualified to dive at offshore installations. Our divers use several diving techniques depending on the task at hand. Most importantly they combine professional diving skills with academic and practical ecological knowledge.

Bureau Waardenburg has carried out underwater research with divers at offshore wind farms, shipwrecks, platforms and in areas of special ecological interest, such as the Klaver Bank. Our divers also have experience in a number of other regions including the Netherlands Antillies, New Zealand and France.


Drop-cam surveys

Since 2008, Bureau Waardenburg has made use of a drop-cam system: a video camera attached to a specially constructed frame and connected to a laptop. This provides both a quick impression of the underwater environment and an effective sampling technique. Images can ben used to assess the ecological value (e.g. benthos, fish, mussel banks) of underwater areas and the effects of human activity.

Previous projects using the drop-cam have included the mapping of bird foraging areas (distribution and abundance of shellfish and benthic life) and assessing the effects of sand replenishment. These projects have taken place off the coast of the Dutch delta, Ameland, the Klaver Bank and Zeeuwse Banks.

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