MarGate: An underwater experimental area and test facility off Helgoland

The project MarGate was initiated in 2009 by the AWI Centre for Scientific Diving at Helgoland to provide an easy accessible underwater experimental area for diver supported in situ studies in the Southern North Sea. The area is about 270 x 60 m in size, located between 5 and 10 m water depth and is marked by (6) red surface buoys as maritime exclusive zone for ship traffic. 

In February 2010, six tetrapod-fields (four-footed concrete breakwaters) have been installed in the MarGate field (with support of the construction company HC Hagemann Hamburg, Germany) to study the effects of artificial breakwaters on the shallow water fish and macro-invertebrate community. Since then, numerous studies (incl. Bachelor- and Master thesis) have been done at the AWI CSD and the project developed to an  long term-monitoring program on the interactions between such artificial constructions on the resident sublittoral community. For a more detailed project description and the related publications, see section "Scientific Projects -> Impact of coastal defence structures (tetrapods) on demersal fish and decapod crustaceans".

Since summer 2012, the MarGate “lab” contains the first German (Coastal Observation System for Northern and Arctic Seas, underwater node system. This system provides online measurements of the main abiotic and biotic variables (temperature, salinity, depth, tide, turbidity, oxygen, chl-a fluorescence, 3D-current) in real time (1 Hz). Recent projects at the node system focus e.g. on online zooplankton and fish recording devices. Click here fore a more detailed description of the COSYNA project.