Friday 14 July was the festive opening of the research vessel R.V. Dreissena. The ship will be used by the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED-UvA) to carry out research on Lake Markermeer. The well-attended ceremony was led by Prof. dr. Jef Huisman (head of the research department Freshwater & Marine Ecology) who highlighted the importance of Markermeer research in his speech. The ship, fitted with specialised research equipment, was open for visits all afternoon.
The construction of the R.V Dreissena is the result of a crowdfunding’s effort initiated by aquatic biologist Harm van der Geest (IBED-UvA). Until now, research was done with small dinghy’s that were not suitable to safely use in all weather conditions. Waves on Lake Markermeer can be as high as a meter. With the new ship both researchers and students are able to do research safely in all seasons, and during stormy conditions.
The arrival of the research vessel will give ecology research in Lake Markermeer a great boost. The ecology of Lake Markermeer has changed considerably due to the building of dikes and dams, but not a lot is known about the steering factors that determine the state of the lake. A better understanding of for instance the lake’s food webs, will lead to a better appreciation of what is currently going wrong in the system and what we can do to improve the environmental quality in the area.
R.V. stands for Research Vessel and Dreissena is genus of mussels in the Dreissenidae family. This genus includes the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) and the quagga mussel (Dreissena bugensis), both key protagonists in Markermeer's changing ecology.
The eight meter long aluminium ship was built by Stormer Marine Workboats and is fitted with specialised research equipment. In two weeks, the ship will make its first test-drive on the lake. Notably, the University of Amsterdam is now the first university in the Netherlands with its own research boat.
More information on the ship, ecological research in Lake Markermeer and the crowdfunding initiative can be found here: