CANVAS - Report
The research project CANVAS (Contaminants and Nutrients in Variable Sea Areas),
funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), lasted from
May 1997 to March 2000. A summary of the final report, available from BMBF
under grant no. 03F0191A, is given below:
Within the framework of CANVAS, contaminants and nutrients in hydrographically
highly variable sea areas were to be investigated. For this purpose, four
automated monitoring stations of the Marine Environmental Monitoring Network
in the North Sea and Baltic Sea (MARNET) were operated in the German coastal
waters by Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH), and one
station by GKSS-Forschungszentrum GmbH (GKSS). Besides meteorological and
oceanographic measurements, which have been carried out routinely for a
reasonable time span, also chemical and biological parameters were to be
The first project year of CANVAS was taken up largely by the construction
phase during which technical equipment was installed at the monitoring stations
and put into service, and know-how was transferred between GKSS and BSH.
During the second project year, the transfer to the operational phase was
made at two of the monitoring stations, with parallel quality assurance work,
infrastructural improvements, and data processing. The installation of equipment
and operation of the stations occupied most of the available manpower capacity
during that year. Major unexpected problems had occurred early in the project,
during the first project year, and their elimination had led to delays in
the handling of other project work. This caused CANVAS to lag considerably
behind its original planning. Activities in the last six months of the project
period were clearly affected by the approaching end of the project. Due to
personnel changes and decreasing availability of project personnel, the focus
of activities was on the continuation of measuring operations, while other
work came to a near standstill.
During the CANVAS project, the BSH succeeded in establishing operational
nutrient monitoring by means of nutrient analysers. The experience gained
with the automatic pump photometers (APP) during operational monitoring
constitutes a good basis for further development or new development of nutrient
analysers and sensors. Silicate analyses are not yet possible presently.
However, nutrient monitoring cannot be considered complete without silicate
measurements. Automatic silicate measurements should be feasible without
too much effort and expense owing to analogies between the phosphate and
silicate processes. An evaluation of the nutrient time series available so
far has shown clearly noticeable short-term processes, whose dependence on
meteorological and hydrographic factors has been plausibly explained. The
monitoring system allows conclusions as to the type and duration of nutrient
limitation. It is evident that such events can only be recorded by means
of quasi-continuous monitoring methods.
The correlation between salinity and nutrient concentration shows strong
temporal and spatial variations, depending also on the nutrients concerned.
Non-linear correlations indicate that processes other than mixing also play
a role. This may become very important in future projects aimed at the
development of ecological models.
It was found early in the project that the measuring data from a single station
do not adequately describe the situation in a particular sea area. A thorough
evaluation of the overall situation is only possible by combining the data
from several monitoring stations and from other information sources (model
data, satellite data etc).
Parallel to the stabilization and improvement of measuring operations at
the ELBE and DEUTSCHE BUCHT stations, work on the equipment of the FEHMARN
BELT and NORDSEEBOJE III stations was continued. This work, which could not
be completed during CANVAS, has been continued by the BSH because it is a
prerequisite to the beginning of operations at these stations.
ASOM (Automatic Sampler for Organic Micropollutants) failed to function reliably
throughout the project period and could not be used in the stations' routine
operation, even at the end of the project. The malfunctioning had three main
ASOM software control
ASOM equipment deficiencies
However, the fundamental developments in organic contaminant analysis including
the planned sampling method have been successful.
The data management system, which is indispensable for controlling the nutrient
analysers, does not meet the BSH requirements. It has never achieved the
required performance guaranteed by its manufacturer, and error-free operation
has not been achieved to this day. The system is lacking transparency and
user-friendliness. Since an efficient, modern, and future-oriented DM system
is very important for MARNET, the BSH has become a project partner in the
BMBF project EDMU.
When critically assessing the project results and comparing them with the
original project goals, it has to be considered that both the BSH, in charge
of carrying out the project, and the project manager accepted the relatively
high risk of implementing CANVAS. In the risk assessment, it had to be taken
into account that, on the one hand, successful achievement of the project
goals depended on the functioning of a novel, not yet established measuring
technology which, on the other hand, was potentially capable of bringing
about definite improvements in quasi-continuous marine monitoring. The BSH
has recognized this potential during the project period and has incorporated
the use of chemical sensors into its future planning for state-of-the-art
monitoring strategies within the MARNET programme. Any further development
of sensors on a chemical, biochemical, or physical basis will be pursued
further and possibly tested within MARNET, and will be used operationally
if it passes the tests.
Acceptance of such risks is indispensable for the future establishment of
novel marine monitoring technologies.
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