The project team

Leo Koop

Leo Koop

PhD candidate TU Delft
l.koop*tudelft.nl

Biosketch

I am Leo Koop, born in the Spanish Lookout Belize, currently a PhD candidate at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), and researcher in the DISCLOSE project. At the University of Belize, I received a bachelor degree in mathematics with a minor in computer science. In 2013 I became the recipient of an Erasmus Mundus scholarship to the master program “Computer Simulation for Science and Engineering”. The first year of this program I studied at the Technische Universität Berlin and my final year was at the TU Delft. During my master’s thesis on the topic of “Simulating Hearing Loss Using a Transmission Line Cochlea Model” I inverted a popular model of the human inner ear; thereby allowing this model to be used as a hearing loss simulator for the first time. This inversion of the model was done by using advanced acoustic signal processing. The experience with acoustic signal processing coupled with my heritage in the Belize Barrier Reef, as a Belizean, piqued my interest in the DISCLOSE project. The Belize Barrier Reef is a part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System which is the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere and second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. As such, Belize, a small jewel of a country, has a great responsibility in the protection of the reef which is also a World Heritage Site. My participation in the DISCLOSE project will therefore not only be of value in supplying information regarding the Dutch Continental Shelf, but will also give me experience in seafloor habitat mapping, something that is very applicable and useful in my home country of Belize.
Dick Simons

Dick Simons

Project leader TU Delft
d.g.simons*tudelft.nl

Biosketch

Dick Simons received the MSc degree in Physics at the University of Leiden (cum laude), The Netherlands in 1983. He received his PhD in 1988, also at the University of Leiden. In 1990 he joined the Underwater Technology Department of TNO Defense, Security and Safety, The Hague, where from 2000 he became program leader of all research concerning underwater acoustic propagation modelling. From March 2004 he is holding the part-time chair seafloor mapping in the Delft Institute of Earth Observation and Space Systems (DEOS) of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at the Delft University of Technology. On 1 October 2006 he was appointed fulltime professor on the chair Acoustic Remote Sensing at the same faculty. His research interests are: multibeam echo sounder mapping of seafloor bathymetry and its dynamic behavior, sediment classification through inverse modeling of single- and multibeam echo sounder signals, phenomenological approaches to sediment classification, and solving inverse problems in underwater acoustics in general, using global optimization methods such as genetic algorithms. Simons has led (and still leads) extensive international research projects in these fields and plays a leading role in the definition and execution of major field experiments at sea needed for these projects. Professor Simons always looks for other applications of acoustic remote sensing and he is now also working on passive probing of the atmosphere with (inaudible) infrasound, non-destructive analysis and monitoring of sand filters (for drinking water) and acoustic camera imaging for noise source identification on aircraft.
Mirjam Snellen

Mirjam Snellen

Co-supervisor TU Delft
m.snellen*tudelft.nl

Biosketch

Mirjam Snellen received the MSc degree (cum laude) in 1996 from the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering of the Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. In 2002 she received her PhD at the University of Amsterdam on the topic of “Sea bottom parameter estimation by inversion of underwater acoustic sonar data”. She has worked at the research institute TNO from 1996 to 2003, mainly on research in the field of underwater acoustics. In 2003 she joined to the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering of the Delft University of Technology, where currently she is Associate Professor in the field of acoustics with a focus on acoustic imaging using arrays. In 2005 she received a Veni grant on the topic “Sea-floor classification by acoustic remote sensing”.
Her research interests are acoustic imaging techniques, using for example multi-beam echo-sounders (MBES), interferometers and derived state-of-the-art techniques, mapping of the seafloor, both bathymetry but also classifying its sediments, and solving inverse problems in acoustics. Snellen acts as an advisor both for Deltares, but also for Rijkswaterstaat, in the field of acoustic measurements for hydrographic purposes. In this role she is also responsible for the tool AMUST (A priori Multi-beam echo-sounder Uncertainty Simulation Tool) used by Rijkswaterstaat to check compliance with the hydrographic norms for MBES bathymetric measurements.

Christiaan van Sluis

Christiaan van Sluis

Project leader North Sea Foundation
c.vansluis*noordzee.nl

Biosketch

Christiaan van Sluis (Msc.) is a marine ecologist with a Msc. degree in marine research and marine policy. He highly values social aspects in both fields, is internationally oriented and pragmatic. During his studies Christiaan mainly focused on effects of anthropogenic pressures on marine organisms and the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems. In this period, he managed field experiments in Sweden and Wales, the UK, and worked for three months with local people at the NGO Shoals on the remote island of Rodrigues, Mauritius. Christiaan’s work experience and contacts at different institutes provides him with an excellent network within the marine ecology and a broad experience with regard to marine projects. These include Building with Nature, Natura 2000, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Shellfish aquaculture and conservation, marine litter, coastal defence and offshore industries. At the North Sea foundation Christiaan works as program manager for the topic Marine Protected Areas.
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Karin van der Reijden

Karin van der Reijden

PhD candidate University of Groningen
k.j.van.der.reijden*rug.nl

Biosketch

Born and raised in Schiedam (the Netherlands), Karin moved to Groningen to study Marine Biology at the University of Groningen. During this study she specialized in marine ecology, with an interest for applied studies in (trophic) interactions between organisms and with their environment. So did Karin join the research team of the project ‘Waddensleutels’, which studied the effects of intertidal mussel beds on the food web. After obtaining her master’s degree cum laude in 2013, Karin was employed by the research institute “Wageningen Marine Research” in IJmuiden (the Netherlands). For 2 years, she worked at various projects, all directed at bycatch and discards in the Dutch demersal fisheries. Relevant research questions were: “Which species are discarded and in which quantities?”, “What percentage of discarded plaice, sole and dab survives the discard process?” and “Is the pulse trawl a sustainable alternative for the traditional beam trawl?”. In May 2016 Karin started as a PhD-candidate in the DISCLOSE project at the University of Groningen.
Han Olff

Han Olff

Project leader University of Groningen
h.olff*rug.nl

Biosketch

Han Olff is a recognized international expert on the structure and functioning of diverse communities and ecosystems, with special attention on how plants, herbivores, predators and decomposers interact in ecosystems. His first major contribution was on understanding how, and under which conditions vertebrate herbivores promote the diversity of plants. More recently, Olff found that top-down (predation) and bottom-up (food-related) forces in savanna food webs are strongly interconnected. His field studies in the Serengeti have revealed that landscape gradients in rainfall and soil fertility not only affect the quantity and quality of food, but also govern the interaction between herbivores and their movement ecology. Building on these discoveries, Olff recently unraveled the interplay of entire green (herbivore-based) and brown (detrivore-based) food webs in a coastal saltmarsh. His work on hybrid interactions networks initiated new studies of non-trophic interactions in European and west-African soft-bottom intertidal systems, where ‘ecosystem engineers’ (e.g. lugworms, sea grasses, saltmarsh plants) are critical determinants of abiotic conditions, thus playing a key role in food webs, interaction networks and biodiversity. This work is not only of fundamental importance, but also highly relevant for local, regional and global nature protection and restoration plans. Olff is active in translating the findings of his research into advice on a variety of terrestrial and marine nature conservation issues, both in the Netherlands and in Africa (South Africa, Mauritania, Tanzania, Kenya). He is a prominent science communicator in the field of ecology and conservation who is frequently interviewed by radio, television and newspapers and plays an active role in conservation debates on social media.
Laura Govers

Laura Govers

Co-supervisor University of Groningen
l.l.govers*rug.nl

Biosketch

I am a passionate marine ecologist that studies ecosystem-scale processes in coastal ecosystems across the world. My research mainly focusses on the Wadden Sea, where I study long-distance interactions between mudflats and islands, biogeomorphological processes, focussing on the lower trophic levels (especially sea grasses). Although my research is discovery-driven, I strongly collaborate with managers and NGOs to contribute to evidence-based coastal conservation. Therefore, the DISCLOSE project, in which I co-supervise Karin van der Reijden (PhD-candidate), strongly fits both my research interests and conservation goals.
Adriaan Rijnsdorp

Adriaan Rijnsdorp

Co-supervisor University of Groningen
adriaan.rijnsdorp*wur.nl

Biosketch

Adriaan Rijnsdorp is senior researcher at the Marine Research Institute of Wageningen University. A fisheries biologist since 1980, his research interests are population biology of exploited fish species (in particular flatfish), fisheries-induced evolution, ecosystem effects of fishing and the behaviour of fishers and fishing fleets.
Sarah O'Flynn

Sarah O’Flynn

PhD candidate NIOZ Yerseke
sarah.oflynn*nioz.nl

Biosketch

Sarah O’Flynn, from Co. Cork in Ireland is a PhD student at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ). She received a bachelor degree in Environmental Sciences (Zoology) from University College Cork. In 2005 she completed her masters in Marine and Lacustrine Sciences at Ghent University in Belgium, with a thesis examining the ecological importance of floating seaweed clumps as possible refuges and feeding grounds for birds and fish. After her studies she began working as an Environmental Scientist for Fugro EMU Limited in the UK, where she gained a wide range of experience, including offshore survey work, environmental report writing, marine taxonomy and project coordination. She developed a keen interest in the impact of natural and man-made influences on seafloor communities (macrofaunal). Her work at NIOZ as part of the DISCLOSE project will explore trait-based community analysis and resilience of seafloor communities as part of the broader project, which will examine the distribution, structure and functioning of low-resilience seafloor communities and habitats of the Dutch sector of the North Sea.
Tom Ysebaert

Tom Ysebaert

Project leader NIOZ Yerseke
tom.ysebaert*nioz.nl

Biosketch

Tom Ysebaert is senior scientist at the NIOZ Department Estuarine & Delta Systems in Yerseke.
Peter Herman

Peter Herman

Co-supervisor NIOZ Yerseke
peter.herman*deltares.nl

Biosketch

Peter Herman is senior Senior Researcher at the Department of Marine and Coastal Systems at the Delft institute Deltares.