Rotterdam Port field trip III w/ biologist Peter Paalvast

For my STARTS4Water residency on Biodiversity in the Rotterdam Port I am researching sessile organisms in the rotterdam port and the way they build their ecosystems, comparing the immense infrastructures we build in our harbours to the tiny habitats these life forms are creating.

Through researching topics like regeneration of marine life, cybernetic human/non-human communication as well as nature-inclusive engineering I’ve been in contact with many brilliant people over the last few weeks.

During my field trips with biologist Peter Paalvast we encountered the Australian tubeworm, or Trompetkalkkokerworm in Dutch, in several places. This organism seems to thrive on warming waters as well as changes in salinity, something which is very common in De Nieuwe Waterweg as this is where freshwater from the Rhine and salt water from the North Sea meet. This tubeworm builds calc tubes around itself for protection. It’s also an “ecosystems engineer” modifying its environment, keeping out certain species while welcoming others.

Pictures by Adriaan van de Polder.