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CANVAS project report

   
 
 

 

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 recorded automatically.

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 sources:

  • ASOM software control
  •   Water supply
  • 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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If you have any additional questions, please e-mail Kai Herklotz or phone +49 40 3190 - 3230
Sieglinde Weigelt-Krenz or phone +49 40 3190 - 3310

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