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Historical Sluice Dock datasets [1960-1991]

Shortly before the outbreak of World War I, Professor Gustave Gilson set up a marine biological laboratory in the oyster farm "Stichert-Stracké & Cie". After World War II his work was continued by one of his students Eugène Leloup who saw the unique possibilities of the Sluice Dock for studying fundamental ecology and aquaculture research. The idea that this biotope could serve as a model for the North Sea ecosystem led to an exponential growth of scientific studies between 1960 and 1970 exploring the ecology and biodiversity (phyto-and zooplankton, benthos, bacteria) of this artificial lagoon. In parallel, applied research started on the cultivation of oysters and other bivalves. In the seventies a lot of ecological and aquaculture research was carried out by Philip Polk (VUB) and Guido Persoone (UGent).

In this dataset biological data originating from 17 publications (71% which Polk actively participated) was collected. These are either biological inventories or datasets related to the oyster farming activities in the Sluice Dock.

Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), Belgium (2018): Historical Sluice Dock data (1960-1991).

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Gustave Gilson
Eugène Leloup
De Oostendse Spuikom
De Oostendse Spuikom: historiek, onderzoek en perspectieven


The Sluice Dock dataset contains 28,262 observation records sampled between 1960 and 1991. In the 1980s, the scientific research has declined as a result of the deterioration of the water quality caused by eutrophication. This resulted in a massive development of sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca).


Data records can be divided into five biotic groups: benthos (50.4%), phytoplankton (26.1%), algae (12.4%), zooplankton (11.1%), and bacteria (0.1%). Within the benthic community 15 phyla were present. About 26% of these records belong to the Mollusca. The dataset includes 12 mollusk taxa identified at the species level. The high number of records for Ostrea edulis and Crepidula fornicata were integrated from a specific study on the influence of light on their fixation on oyster collectors. Another 8 publications focused on the ecology and cultivation of these species.