Mussels crucial for recovery US marshes

New research together with colleagues from the US shows that the humble mussel and marsh grass form an intimate interaction that is critical to helping these ecosystems bounce back from die-off triggered by extreme climatic events such as drought. We published that in the latest issue of Nature Communication.

See the Dutch and English press release at the NIOZ website.

The original paper can be found here.


An aggregation of Elk

Phase separation: a new mechanism for ecological patterns

Have you ever wondered what a clump of mussels, a herd of grazers, or a spot of bacteria under the microscope have in common? All these aggregations follow from similar physical movement process, where organisms move a lot when alone, but move less when in aggregation.

We outline this new principle in a paper that just appeared online in Physics of Life Reviews, The paper was a collaboration with first author Quan-Xing Liu (a former PhD student of mine) Max Rietkerk, Peter Herman, John Fryxell, and Theunis Piersma.


Pdf: Link to Liu’s Researchgate.

(Elk photo is from:

Planting Marsh Grass in Clumps Doubles Salt Marsh Recovery Rate

Planting marsh grass in clumps may contribute considerably to the recovery of salt meadows and marshes. This is one of the results of a joint research project by Duke University in the US and the NIOZ Royal Dutch Institute for Sea Research, which was published in the leading scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

See the press release: link to the NIOZ Website.

The publication: Link to PNAS.

The strength of complexity

Whether you look at a square centimeter or at a square kilometer, nature always reveals the most interesting patterns. It is this complexity at all spatial scales that makes nature different from many if not all human creations. Our latest research on mussel beds reveals that this many-scale complexity actually makes ecosystems very strong and resilient. Read more about it in the (Dutch) press release or in the actual paper!