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4 decades of Belgian marine monitoring

uplifting historical data to today's needs


The Belgian scientific community has, in the last four decades, built up considerable expertise in marine sciences (see Compendium Coast and Sea). Numerous scientific expeditions at sea have resulted in a vast quantity of scientific data related to different topics and important publications in the scientific literature about the marine environment of the Belgian Continental Shelf. Many valuable, historic data however still remain inaccessible to the larger scientific community, being available only on paper in various institutions. These sources are essential for understanding long-term changes in the quality of the marine environment. The 4DEMON project aims to centralise, integrate and valorise data on contamination, eutrophication and ocean acidification compiled during expeditions in the BCS over the last four decades, forming an important Belgian scientific heritage.

1000-points map: Map of 1970-1976 sampling grid.
Van Mechelen: Old Cruise summary reports provide useful sampling information.
In the first phase of the project an extensive data inventory will be created and relevant historic data and metadata will be searched for in archives and digitized when needed.
Continuous remote sensing chlorophyll a and turbidity data sets will aid the data interpretation and intercalibration as they have a much higher spatial and temporal resolution.



Final meeting at Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels. (19 June 2018)

Added on: 22 May 2018
During this meeting you will be introduced to our quality checked and intercalibrated datasets (1970s-today) on contaminants, eutrophication and ocean acidification in the Belgian Part of the North Sea, the applied trend analyses methods to study long-term environmental changes and the project outcomes. The used data management tools will be highlighted and a demo will be given of the project data portal where all data is made available to the larger scientific community and policy makers. ...

Third annual meeting of our BRAIN project

Added on: 04 May 2017
On 27 March 2017, the third annual meeting of the BRAIN project ‘4Decades of Belgian Marine Monitoring: uplifting historical data to today’s needs’ (4DEMON) took place in the offices of BELSPO where the progresses of the topics were presented to the follow-up committee. The deadline is extended until June 2018. At this stage, most data have been gathered, intercalibrations are almost finalized and models and statistical methods are being applied on the datasets. ...

4DEMON at IODE XXIV (27-31 March 2017)

Added on: 04 May 2017
The 24th Session of the IOC Committee on International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange was held between 28-31 March 2017, preceded by a one-day scientific workshop on 27 March 2017. This IODE Session was attended by 67 participants from 31 IOC Member States and 5 Organizations.  ...

4DEMON at International Conference on Marine Data and Information Systems in Gdansk (Poland)

Added on: 28 Oct 2016
4DEMON was presented on 2 posters at IMDIS2016. The first one was about our data management of historical data and the second one was specifically about the Data Integration and Tracking Tool (DITS) that was developed for 4DEMON. ...

16th VLIZ Marine Scientist Day

Added on: 14 Mar 2016
During the 16th VLIZ Marine Scientist Day on February 12th 2016, ‘Long-term phytoplankton monitoring data (1970- 2010) from the Belgian North Sea reveal shifts in community composition and seasonal dynamics’, within the scope of 4DEMON, was presented as a poster by Anja Nohe. ...

4DEMON Workshop on data analysis on January 26th 2016

Added on: 14 Mar 2016
During the workshop on data analysis, each WP presented its progress and the results were discussed in the frame of further analyses within the project. ...

World Ocean Day at the Museum on Sunday 7th of June 2015

Added on: 12 Jun 2015
4DEMON participated in the celebration of the World Ocean Day at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. ...

Marine Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Prediction, Liège colloquium 4-8th May, 2015

Added on: 12 May 2015
During the 47th International Liège colloquium, 4DEMON was presented by K. De Cauwer (BMDC) in the session 'Monitoring - in situ observations'. ...

Sediment sampling on the Belgica in March 2015

Added on: 17 Apr 2015
Sediment was sampled with a Van Veen grab on the Belgica cruise in March 2015 by J. Gauquie and B. Dewitte (ILVO). ...

4DEMON at the Scientific Conference for the 10th Anniversary of the IOC Project Office for IODE opening

Added on: 03 Apr 2015
The project 4DEMON was presented by K. De Cauwer (BMDC) at the Scientific Conference ...


Added on: 03 Apr 2015
4DEMON was presented on a poster by R. Lagring (BMDC) ...

VLIZ young scientist day 2015

Added on: 02 Mar 2015
4DEMON was present at the VLIZ Young Marine Scientists’ Day in Brugge, 20 February 2015, with two posters: ...

4DEMON Follow Up Meeting

Added on: 12 Feb 2015
We welcomed the members of the follow-up committee at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences to present them the work done during the first year. ...

DITS launch and use

Added on: 13 Jan 2015

DITS, the Data Inventory and Tracking System, has been launched on 15 September 2014.


Lab visit by BMDC

Added on: 28 Oct 2014
BMDC was guided by Michèle Loijens in the archives of the Laboratoire Océanographie Chimique et Géochimie des Eaux (Prof. L. Chou). ...

4DEMON kicks off

Added on: 21 Mar 2014
The 4DEMON Kick Off Meeting took place on the 13th of March in Brussels. This meeting was followed by a technical data management workshop.