Living on the edge – Importance of saltmarshes for fish in the Wadden Sea

The field trip “Living on the edge – Importance of saltmarshes for fish in the Wadden Sea” is sold out. If you are interested in being placed on a waiting list, please feel free to reach out to Neža at
About the field trip

Embark on an excursion to the beautiful island of Schiermonnikoog. Schiermonnikoog is the smallest occupied island in the Dutch Wadden Sea and is known for its vast salt marshes. 

The Wadden Sea provides a range of functions for fish. A number of fish species spend their entire lives in the shallow coastal sea while others only occur during a certain life stage. For a number of fish, the Wadden Sea provides a suitable nursery ground, with the juvenile fish benefitting from the high food availability and shelter from predators. Traditionally the monitoring of (juvenile) fish in the Wadden Sea has focused on tidal channels.  

The natural value of salt marshes has long been known, mainly because of their unique vegetation and function as a refuge and foraging area for (migratory) birds.

Recent research shows, that salt marshes are also important for fish. Small fish – such as three-spined stickleback, herring, sprat, smelt, and goby – hide in the small coves and feed there on small animals such as bristle worms, amphipods, and shrimps. During high tide, some species swim up onto the salt marsh to hunt for amphipods. Some fish also eat insects that fall from overhanging salt marsh plants into the gully.  

During this excursion, we share findings of the project Waddentools Swimway Waddenzee (Waddentools Swimway Waddenzee – Swimway) and explore the role salt marshes play in the Dutch Wadden Sea for fish and which management measures help to make the salt marshes a better habitat for (young) fish. 

Themes covered

Wadden Sea, saltmarshes, habitat use.

Important information 

Price for Swimway project at Schiermonnikoog field trip is €50.82 (inc. tax) and it includes guide, travel and lunch.  

Meeting place is the Groningen bus station at 7:30. Bus will leave at 8:00, be at the meeting place at least 15 minutes before departure. Planned return to Oosterpoort is by 19:00.  

Organised by
  • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
  • Waddenvereniging

Sampling set up in a creek in the salt marsh

Aerial picture of a creek in the salt marshes