Friday, October 3, 2014

A good working environment

Reading about all the research on the MegaPex blog you might get the impression that the beach is swarming with researchers. Mind you, only half of the experiments that are going on have been mentioned so far. Indeed, chances are high you will stumble over some sort of measurement tool when you walk along the waterline. Nonetheless, almost every morning when I’m walking up to my artificial worm beds I’m astonished by the peaceful and quiet surroundings of my working environment. It is a great place for an ecologist to work.

I start my journey at the beach clubs, then cross the lagoon channel and follow the lagoon towards the centre of the Sand Motor before crossing over to the sea side. On my way I cross several different coastal environments. First the old dunes where I regularly see rabbits, hedgehogs and foxes. Then onto a bare landscape dominated by tidal currents. Along the lagoon I see many benthic creatures, numerous small fish dart off when I walk by and I spot the occasional spoonbill. I now enter an area which is wind dominated, with juvenile dunes forming everywhere and hundreds of seagulls resting in between them. I finish my journey at the tip of the Sand Motor, a steep beach with a lot of wave action. Every now and then the head of a seal pops up above the surface of the water. 

The Sand Motor is clearly starting to grow on me. It is quite special to find so many different habitats, seemingly well occupied by wildlife, right next to a dense urban area. The Sand Motor was created only 3 years ago and already a lot has happened. It will take some more years to make final conclusions about the ecological impacts of this mega-nourishment. Meanwhile I’ll enjoy the work.

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