Call for participants: Spatial application of a Habitat Suitability Index for oyster restoration

The NORA Site Selection Working Group is delighted to invite participants to join Brecht Stechele of the University of Ghent at 10.30-11.30CEST/9.30-10.30BST on Wednesday 27th October to learn more about how the UNITED project (Grant Agreement no 862915) are developing a model for oyster site selection, and how NORA participants can contribute to these research efforts. 

To include oyster restoration in marine spatial planning, there is a need to apply a habitat suitability index to spatial data. The recent work of Anna Hughes and the oyster site selection workshop did a good job defining and quantifying boundary conditions for oyster restoration including biotic and abiotic factors and important treats to oyster restoration. As a next step in the process to define suitable locations for oyster restoration and to include NORAs work in marine spatial planning there is a need for a tool that applies habitat suitability spatially.  

A Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) model for the European flat oyster has been constructed in the framework of the Belgian UNITED project (Grant Agreement no 862915). The DEB model predicts growth, fitness, reproduction, and mortality of European flat oysters and is spatial applicable through remote sensing or modelled forcing of chlorophyll a, suspended particulate matter, temperature, and salinity. 

Layering of DEB results with habitat suitability as defined by the work of Anna could lead to habitat suitability maps of the European western shelf, the North Sea, or your local lagoon. In a next step, estimation could be made about mortality events, the reproductive potential or population dynamics of your reef, or the performance of your reef in climate change conditions.  

To increase the applicability of the study Brecht is seeking partners that would be interested to participate. Participation would include defining spatial boundaries of the study, contribution of model validation data, aiding in the search for spatially relevant maps of marine activities, and interpretation of results. Results would be published in a peer reviewed A1 publication.  Research will be supported by a doctoral fund provided by the Flemish Research Foundation (FWO). 

Brecht Stechele, UGent

Please contact or for meeting call-in details and to receive reminders about the event.


Lacroix, G., Ruddick, K., Park, Y., Gypens, N., & Lancelot, C. (2007). Validation of the 3D biogeochemical model MIRO&CO with field nutrient and phytoplankton data and MERIS-derived surface chlorophyll a images. Journal of Marine Systems64 (1-4), 66-88.